The Malta Independent 14 December 2018, Friday

PA recommends underground car park below university track

Kevin Schembri Orland Thursday, 5 April 2018, 11:07 Last update: about 9 months ago

A decision on an application to upgrade and refurbish the university sports track was deferred today, as suggestions for the building of an underground car park to try and solve the parking issues in the area were raised.

The site in question covers an area of circa 24,600 square metres, and is located within the University of Malta’s sports grounds at Tal-Qroqq. The site currently comprises of an existing race track and spectator stand, the two-storey institute for Physical Education and Sport, and the Alumni Gymnasium.

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The application proposes the demolition of the existing sports institute building, track seating and ancillary stores, and the construction of a new Institute for Physical Education and Sport (IPES) building and a spectator stand with underlying research laboratories. The proposal also includes the refurbishing of the existing ground and the inclusion of a new eight-lane athletics track. “This proposal shall form part of Phase 1 of the works intended at the University Sports Complex,” the case officer’s report read. “According to the Project Description Statement submitted by the architect, Phase 2 of the works shall cover an area of circa 13,500 square metres and will involve the construction of two new basketball pitches and a volleyball pitch as well as two additional outdoor tennis courts, and a fence around their perimeter of the site.”

“We felt the need to refurbish and upgrade the sports facilities,” the architect said, mentioning that many foreign students ask about such facilities and the importance of sports. She said that sports research and medicine has advanced, but added that the university doesn’t currently have the facilities needed for such studies.

During the discussion, several board members brought up a number of suggestions.

The architect said that a green travel plan was also drawn up. In total, both phases of the development will see a total of 58 parking spaces created. She mentioned certain local plan limitations in terms of how many car parking spaces the university can create, but mentioned that the majority of people using the facilities will be students and staff.

Board members then floated the idea of having an underground car park beneath the track, mentioning that the local plan was drawn up many years ago. They also highlighted parking issues which would occur during competitions. The Architect highlighted that they were also told not to add too much parking due to the local plan, however board members said that the board was now saying otherwise.

Planning Authority Executive Chairman Johann Buttigieg said that not including a car park beneath the track could be a missed opportunity for the locals in the area as well.

A university representatives mentioned that cost issues, but Buttigieg mentioned that there are funds available to help with this.

“We have the opportunity to create a fully-fledged car park that can alleviate a huge problem on the area,” Buttigieg said.

The architect then said she would like to defer the meeting in order to be able to discuss with the university.

A debate regarding the stand also saw recommendations for the outside bit to include solar panels.

 

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