The Malta Independent 13 November 2018, Tuesday

Updated: Nearly 900 objections against Villa Leoni hotel proposal submitted

Albert Galea Tuesday, 31 July 2018, 08:25 Last update: about 4 months ago

Nearly 900 objections have been submitted against the proposed development of a 4-star hotel on Villa Leoni, a Grade 2 scheduled building, in St. Julian’s.

The application currently reads as follows: “Proposal of 4 star hotel (Class 3B) which entails the restoration and internal alterations of the existing villa together with construction of additional volume above said villa. The proposal also includes the construction of a new structure overlooking Telghet Birkirkara. Part of the site is being proposal for excavation to include two floors of parking.”

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NGO Flimkien Ghall-Ambjent Ahjar have come out in protest against the development, saying that the proposal “blatantly ignored all planning parameters and restrictions” that would otherwise ensure the protection of such a scheduled property. 

The NGO warned of the “complete obliteration” that would occur on the property if the development was approved, saying that there would be over half the original fabric of the property demolished, that the remaining parts of the villa would be engulfed by the 7 storey addition and that the mature Grade 2 scheduled garden would be eradicated to be replaced by the property parking facility.

FAA said that the development does not conform with the legislation for a Grade 2 scheduled property, which reads as follows; “Alterations to the interior will be allowed if proposed to be carried out sensitively and causing the least detriment to the character and architectural homogeneity of the building.”

Meanwhile FAA also pointed out that the villa’s garden was scheduled as well and that due to the property’s age it could mean that there were trees within it that  are over 50 years old.  If this was to be the case, the removal of the said trees would go against the Trees and Woodland Protection Regulations. 

Furthermore, FAA said, the word “demolition” had been “deceptively” omitted from the application and instead replaced by the word “alterations” which, the NGO pointed out, are two completely different things and fails to be “representative of the true proposed impact of this development”. 

FAA also pointed out that the actual number of floors above the building itself and the total number of storeys proposed in the new development within the protected garden were not specified as required.

The villa and its gardens were scheduled as a Grade 2 property for its architectural value in 1994.

 

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