The Planning Authority has granted a permit for McDonald’s to build a drive-through restaurant on the main street of Żebbuġ.
The site spans just short of 1,600 square metres and the building will cover under a third of the area, with close to 100 square metres of landscaping. There will be an underground car park for 33 cars.
The applicant is Nazzareno Attard.
To make matters worse, the study only covered light and heavy vehicles- Architect
The site is in an ‘area of containment’ identified in local plans of 2006 which predominantly accommodate industrial or commercial activities located in outside development zones (ODZ).
The main access will be through Mdina Road for customers, with another access at the back, on Sqaq tal-Ħlas, for deliveries.
The site is adjacent to a fuel station and a warehouse whose owner, Raymond Vassallo, said that after having operated from there for 20 years, he would have to relocate if the project is approved.
No major impact on traffic, assessment finds
A traffic impact assessment found that the project will not have any major impact on traffic generation or congestion.
Traffic expert Bjorn Bonello told the board that the study took into consideration fast food chains close by and found minimal impact on the traffic flow.
Although the assessment was carried out in 2018, before COVID-19, “when the traffic situation was worse”, it studied other drive-through restaurants such as the one in Għargħur. Since then, more people were opting for deliveries and the junction close to the new drive-through had recently been improved, the study says.
Objectors argued that the traffic impact assessment ought to be redone since it had been carried out before the Siġġiewi junction was upgraded and was obsolete.
“To make matters worse, the study only covered light and heavy vehicles. Queuing on the street to enter the drive-through and cars exiting onto the main road were not taken into consideration,” architect Ruben Sciortino insisted.
Other objectors argued that the proposed restaurant and drive-through were in breach of several policies.
PA chairman Emanuel Camilleri held that the proposed project was covered by planning policies and that Transport Malta had given the traffic impact assessment the green light.
Seven board members voted in favour of the project while the Żebbuġ local council representative first asked to abstain and then voted against when he was informed that abstaining was not permitted.