The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage and the Naxxar local council have stood by their objections to a big development in the parking lot of the old Trade Fair grounds, saying the revised plans do not address their concerns.

In submissions to the Planning Authority, they said that, instead of the original five ‘bottle-like’ structures, two towers, eight and 10 floors high, were being proposed.

But the project was still massive and would alter the locality’s skyline and the views of Naxxar from both near and far, they argued.

They said they found the height and massing to be excessive so near to the town’s urban conservation area.

The local council noted that, while the revised plans had taken on board many of its concerns, it still did not address its main one – the height of the development.

The application is PA02427/21, through which Joe Debono, on behalf of San Pawl tat-TarÄ¡a Investments Limited, is seeking a permit for two “medium-rise buildings”.

They would include four basement levels for 360 parking spaces as well as 79 garages, a gymnasium and spa with indoor pool, two restaurants, a bar, a childcare centre and 10 shops.

The Planning Authority, also unhappy with such a massive development so close to the urban conservation area, sent the project back to the drawing board last November.

The site covers an area of just under 5,200 square metres. It would lie just 35 metres from the UCA, 100 metres away from the Grade 1 scheduled complex of Palazzo Parisio and its gardens and 260 metres away from the Grade 1 Torri Gauci.

The new proposal has dropped a supermarket and office space proposed in the original application, replacing them with residential units and commercial outlets. The number of apartments has gone up to 136 from the original 113.

Architects previously envisaged roofed open spaces but the new proposal plans open space in between the two towers.

The Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education objected to the proposed childcare centre because it did not have a dedicated outdoor play area.

It also demanded that the centre allows the free movement of children between the different areas in a safe and secure manner and without the possibility of children coming in contact with third parties, even when moving between the indoor and outdoor areas of the same facility.

The Environment and Resources Authority has demanded a detailed project description statement after concluding that the proposal was not likely to have a significant effect on the environment and that an environment impact assessment was not required.

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