Seven NGOs have jointly filed a lawsuit against the Planning Authority after it failed to withdraw a brief for a Marsascala hotel development which they say was flawed.

The seven organisations had already filed a judicial protest against the PA in May, giving it notice of their intention to proceed with legal action in the case unless it withdrew the brief within 10 days.

The case concerns the site of the former Jerma Palace Hotel on the coast of Marsascala. The Jerma was once one of the Malta’s largest and most prestigious hotels.

The government had asked the PA to draw up the brief following an application for a 15-storey hotel and apartment complex to be built on the site.

Development briefs are meant to provide an outline for the scale, range and quality of a project while flagging any constraints. 

The application, submitted in 2018 by Porto Notos Limited, is for 166 luxury apartments, 250 hotel rooms, underground parking, a business centre, public chapel and a lido.

The NGOs hold that although the Local Plan defines the area which should be subject to the development brief, the PA has included further areas within it.

Although the Local Plan defines the area which should be subject to the Development Brief, the PA also included further areas within it.

NGOs say they included a green area which should be accessible to the public and where no increase in height or volume is permitted, as well as a heritage site for which there is already a policy applicable. Moreover, an area of 100,000 square metres which should be developed within the site was arbitrarily laid down.

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“If the defective Development Brief proposed by the PA goes ahead, it would lead to a massive development project that impacts negatively the infrastructure of Marsascala and the lives of residents, with no long-term benefit to the locality,” the NGOs said on Saturday.

The organisations filing the lawsuit are:

  1. Din l-Art Ħelwa
  2. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
  3. Green House
  4. Moviment Graffitti
  5. Nature Trust Malta
  6. Ramblers Association of Malta
  7. The Archaeological Society of Malta

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