The Mellieħa council is objecting to the construction of an eight-storey complex on the grounds that the development is too massive and would be in breach of various planning policies.
A number of residents have also expressed concerns about the increase in traffic which this complex would bring about, but such fears have been dismissed by the Environment and Resources Authority.
Located next to Valyou Supermarket, on two adjacent plots spread over 3,600 square metres, the project includes 120 apartments, a hotel, shopping complex and an underground car park. The development application was filed in May last year by Gozitan development company J Portelli Projects, who are also behind Mercury Towers in Paceville, together with Agius Projects and DTX Projects.
Up to 2015 the land in question was government owned, when this asset was put for sale through a public call. While the selling price was never made public, the conditions stated that only bids of at least €2.5 million would be considered.
The decision dealt a fatal blow to the council’s plan of acquiring the land for the construction of a community centre complete with an indoor pool. That proposal had been floated in January 2014, during a presentation delivered by Mellieħa mayor John Buttigieg during a special Cabinet meeting held in this locality.
Too intensive and hence incompatible with the surroundings
Four years down the line the council has been left empty handed and is now objecting to the construction of a complex comprising a mix of residential, commercial and hotel use, on the same site. In a submission filed to the Planning Authority during the public consultation period which closed earlier this month, the council justified its position in the grounds that such development would be “too intensive and hence incompatible” with the surroundings.
Moreover, it claimed that the proposal was in conflict with the local plan, saying this did not permit the development of new hotels in residential areas. In view of this the council is calling for the removal of the 104-bed hotel and ancillary facilities including the restaurant, spa, gymnasium and indoor pool, from the existing proposal.
Apart from the council, a handful of objections were also submitted by a number of Mellieħa residents. While branding the scale of the project as “monstrous” they also questioned the need for a new hotel, saying it would make more sense rehabilitating the nearby Selmun Palace Hotel, which has been left abandoned for years.
Criticism was also levelled for the additional traffic and parking problems which this development would create, in view of the fact that the area had already become busier following the opening of the adjacent Valyou Supermarket.
Yet, such concerns were dismissed by the ERA which remarked that “no significant adverse impacts were expected from the envisaged increase in traffic as a result of this proposal. Its conclusion was based on the air quality and noise impact studies, which at the time of writing were not available on the PA’s website.
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