The Planning Authority has received more than 2,600 objections, including that of the Żebbuġ local council, to the proposed 11-storey tower on the site of the Toyota showroom.
The massive project, which mayor Sarah Agius Saliba described as a “monster”, would be more than twice the height of the tallest buildings in Żebbuġ, which are usually limited to five floors.
The project is being proposed by Rohan Arch Limited, a company owned jointly by Michael and Geoffrey Debono, which was incorporated in February 2018 and registered on the Toyota showroom address in Mdina Road.
The site on which the company is proposing to develop the massive project stretches across three roads: Triq l-Imdina, Triq Ġanni Bonnici and Triq is-Siġġiewi.
According to documents filed with the Planning Authority, the developers are proposing the demolition of existing buildings, currently housing the Toyota showroom, the parts section and the body repair centre, and excavation for three levels of parking, the construction of a parking area and a “medium-rise building” for commercial and office space.
Effects on residents will be devastating
The project in Żebbuġ is expected to include restaurants and retail outlets at ground level, with the overlying nine floors and a receded penthouse at the top level, all earmarked for office space. A separate five-storey block, being proposed on Triq is-Siġġiewi, will include a 1,200-square-metre supermarket at ground level with medical facilities above.
Objectors told the Planning Authority in their representations that the proposed project jarred with its surroundings and that its effects on residents and the environment would be devastating.
They said the project went against a number of existing planning policies, including the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development. Also, the proposed development was incompatible with the urban design and environmental characteristics of the urban conservation area and would not maintain the visual integrity of the area, the objectors argued.
They said the project would significantly change the character of Żebbuġ and cause a domino effect with further development.
“The proximity of the proposed tower, just metres from residential houses, will have a very negative effect on the basic quality of life of these residents, blocking the sun, increasing air and noise pollution dramatically and causing severe traffic congestion that reaches gridlock not only during so-called peak hours,” the objectors continued.
They said the project completely ignored the extent of the negative effect on the quality of life of the residents in the surrounding area.
“The daily life of Żebbuġ residents will be permanently sacrificed,” they remarked.