The Malta Independent 14 November 2018, Wednesday

Major St George’s Bay area development application to be decided Thursday

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 20 February 2018, 11:59 Last update: about 10 months ago

The Planning Authority is set to decide on a major Villa Rosa-Cresta Quay area development this Thursday.

The application was filed by Garnet Investments Ltd back in 2012.

According to the Case Officer’s Report, this is a full development application proposing a comprehensive redevelopment project over different locations around St George’s Bay, St Julian’s, including Villa Rosa and its gardens, Dolphin House and Moynihan House, and Cresta Quay along Triq Dragonara, St Julian’s.

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“The redevelopment project includes mixed-uses covering a total site area of 48,723 square metres, a building footprint of 18,345 square metres, and a total gross floor area of 82,917 square meters divided into 10 different zones within 3 different areas.”

The application includes the “demolition of all existing buildings forming part of St. George's Bay Hotel, Dolphin House, Moynihan House and Cresta Quay.”

It will see the construction of Parking facilities, Hotels and ancillary facilities, commercial area, Multi-ownership holiday accommodation, bungalows and a Language school with accommodation.

Photo top shows view as it is today, bottom shows the proposed view

 

The Villa Rosa upper gardens will see the construction of an underground car park and [also underground] catering and sanitary facilities, intended to support the use of Villa Rosa and its grounds for weddings, banquets, and similar events. Villa Rosa itself will be restored and used for weddings, banquets and similar events.

Part of the development is proposed south of Triq –Ix-Xatt Ta San Gorg, adjacent to the Bay Street complex overlooking Triq Santu Wistin with a total floor area of 15,706 sqm. It will see a mixed-use development ranging from a boutique hotel (c. 2,512sqm), commercial space (c.1,876sqm), offices (c.4,223sqm) and apartments (c. 6,522sqm multi-ownership hotel accommodation). The building height is set at 6 floors plus overlying penthouse.

The area fronting Triq ix-Xatt ta San Gorg will see a total gross floor area of 4,247sqm utilised for commercial purposes over two storey high buildings.

The valley watercourse area, East of Triq ix-Xatt ta San Gorg has a gross floor area of 4,050sqm earmarked for a number of two-storey, 3-bedroomed villas with private pools.

According to the Case Officer’s report, an area in the Villa Rosa grounds adjacent to Bay Street Complex will see a total gross floor of 1,435sqm built over three floors for retail and office use.

The area to the North of Triq ix-Xatt ta’ San Gorg, will see multi-ownership hotel accommodation apartments built, with dedicated food and beverage space at ground level.  (Plans indicate this will be six-level’s high)

Dolphin House and Moynihan House will be demolished and redeveloped into commercial space for  food & beverage (1,803sqm), office space (6,012sqm) and a language school (2,980sqm). The commercial space would be located on the ground floor and intermediate level, the offices would be located over all floors (ground to fifth floor), and the language school would occupy from the first floor to fourth floor levels, the Case Officer’s report indicates.

The Cresta Quay zone development involves the development of 2,140sqm footprint of land into a 56-room 4-star hotel including restaurant over four floors below road level, and a kiosk at street level. The layout will allow for the use by the public of a 3m wide strip along the coast, the report read.

A number of concerns were raised by persons who reside in the area, including that the excavation works to make space for the underground car parks is not considered as the preservation of the existing garden, that construction at Cresta Quay runs counter to policy given that it is a coastal area etc.

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and the Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee have reviewed the application, having inspected the site. “The proposed works do not pose a threat to the Villa Rosa and its gardens and the Superintendence is favourable to the proposed restoration of the villa.”

“In reviewing the application, the Superintendence notes that Moynihan House is not formally scheduled by the Planning Authority. Inspection has confirmed that the property has been subject to later interventions and extensive reconstruction, reducing its cultural heritage value.”

The Environment and Resources Authority, said that the Environment Protection Statement (EPS) “predicted a number of potential impacts on the environment as a result of the proposed development especially in the St. George’s Bay Hotel site, and the Dolphin House and Moynihan House site. Whilst the EPS proposes mitigation measures to minimise these impacts, it still identifies potential adverse environmental residual impacts (i.e. impacts that are still likely to prevail after all mitigation measures have been exhausted). These include increased traffic generation, particularly of heavy vehicles with consequent indirect impacts in terms of noise and emissions; Impact of the proposed development on the landscape and visual amenity; The obliteration of trees in the St. George’s Bay Hotel site; and impact on the following cultural heritage, namely Moynihan House and Dolphin House.

The ERA noted that a number of other concerns had been addressed by the developer.

Regarding the proposal within the Cresta Quay site, the ERA notes that the proposal is not likely to raise significant negative impacts as long as certain procedures are followed.

The Case Officer notes that a Traffic Impact Statement (TIS) was carried out for the proposed development. “The traffic impact of the proposal is quite significant, however, the proposed mitigation measures are considered an appropriate means of managing this impact including the upgrading of the Mikiel Anton Vassalli/ Sant Andrija Junction and the Profs Walter Ganado/ Sant Andrija Junction which are to be enlarged in order to be able to cater for the projected vehicular demand.”

“Further to the above, the proposal will be introducing as new public facility above the proposed Cresta Quay hotel, the proposal will be providing a belvedere which has an area of 2,265sqm solely dedicated for the public use. New footpath facilities will be constructed along the frontage of the Dolphin and Moynihan House site area. Such pavements will be of at least 1.5m in width alongside of the development and will provide a safe access to the residents and to those travelling by public transport.”

The project provides around 1,449 parking spaces.

The Case Officer has recommended that the project be approved.

The plans presented starkly contrast what was suggested in the Paceville Master Plan. A ccording to the master plan two tall buildings were projected for the Cresta Quay area. Anton Camilleri – of Garnet Investments Ltd. – had, back then, said that what appeared on the master plan was not in line with his proposal. In fact residents had questioned, at the time, how such a small space could accommodate high rise buildings.

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