The Planning Authority board has unanimously approved a permit for the construction of the new Institute of Tourism Studies campus at Smart City in Kalkara.

The permit was granted on Thursday. The new campus will include a gymnasium, an indoor pool and spa and two levels of underground parking. 

The ITS has been operating from a temporary campus in Luqa since 2018 after the site of its campus in Pembroke was controversially handed to the db Group which intends to build a hotel, residences and an entertainment and retail complex.

The new campus will be located to the southwest of Smart City on an area of just under 9.200 square metres.

According to the PA case officer, the vacant site comprises disturbed land which was partly excavated. Once the whole Smart City network is completed, the site will be accessible throughout a ring road.

The case officer said the site is already covered by a master plan which determined the maximum heights of each block. The maximum height for the site in question is 30 metres.

Besides classrooms, offices, a library with study rooms, a cafeteria and an auditorium, the campus will include  a wine cellar, three restaurants with related kitchens, food science laboratories, a bakery, student rooms and five incubation centres.

The building will also have a childcare facility, ancillary shop and a basketball court.

During the public meeting on Thursday, the board was told that the ITS intends to ensure that the campus building reaches near zero carbon footprint in line with EU directives.

Rainwater will be chanelled into an underground water reservoir which will have a capacity of 60 per cent of the roof area and will be used for irrigation purposes. All waste generated during the operation of the campus will be stored within an underground dedicated area and will be divided into different disposal categories for collection.

All food waste will be segregated within a confined section of the same area and will be sealed to prevent smells.

A 200kWp polycrystalline photovoltaic system will be installed in dedicated areas of the roof and these will generate 320,000kWh of electricity annually providing for the 4.57 per cent of the annual electrical consumption needed.

The Environment and Resources Authority had requested additional information at the initial stages of the processing of the application regarding the proposed cesspit, air quality studies and a waste management report. It eventually concluded that the case does not qualify for further EIA screening considering that the proposed parameters for the site were already approved when the PA approved the construction of an ITC City.

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage had expressed concern that the proposed development could potentially impact the skyline and views of the Grand Harbour when seen from Valletta. It later said it had no objection to the proposed development as long as the heights were in line with those envisaged in the master plan.

The new ITS campus will be adjacent to the one planned for the Amercian University of Malta which was given land at Smart City rather than Zonqor Point. 

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