The Malta Independent 20 April 2024, Saturday
View E-Paper

Updated: Planning Authority approves lido on reclaimed land in Gzira

Noel Grima Thursday, 23 June 2016, 15:00 Last update: about 9 years ago

The Planning Board today unanimously approved planning permission for the construction of a 2,200 sq m lido along the promenade of Triq ix-Xatt in Gzira. The lido project, which will include the reclamation of land will also involve the development and construction of an outdoor swimming pool, a sundeck area, two restaurants, changing rooms and toilet facilities and a recreational play area for public use.

The application that was approved today is a scaled-down version from what was originally applied for in 2006, parts of which would have hidden the seaview from people passing by on the promenade.

The project, which had been granted an outline development permit early last year and is being managed by a consortium made up of the established hotels located along the Gzira waterfront, namely the Bay View Hotel, the Kennedy Nova Hotel, The Strand and the Waterfront Hotel, will now enable them to offer added facilities to their tourism accomodation product since they do not have lido facilities.

The promenade will remain accessible to the public all the time. There will be facilities and showers as well as changing rooms in the pool deck area but strangely the restaurants will have no toilet facilities, which, as the chairman pointed out, may prove problematic in winter when the pool is closed. All services will be buried underground and will thus not be visible from the promenade.

Din l-Art Helwa had objected to the development because this is taking place in a sensitive area, but there was no representative at PA today.

Gzira mayor Conrad Borg Manche was reassured that the promenade pavement will be replaced after the conclusion of the works. The works are estimated to take a year and a half. Mr Borg Manche also pointed out that the areas adjacent to the site on the Gzira promenade are in a very bad state and may crumble down.

Board member Victor Axiaq was interested to get to know how the land reclamation will be handled. Architect Edwin Mintoff explained that first a seawall will be constructed and later the water will be drained off.  Prof. Axisaq remained rather sceptical: he reminded the board what had happened at Portomaso when an ecological disaster was caused when the sea was let in. The developers replied that there have been cases of land reclamation where no environmental damage was caused, such as the other Portomaso reclamation and one at Marsaxlokk.

The four hotels will sign a deed guaranteeing the management  of the site but Prof. Axiaq wondered if the other hotels in the area which have not joined up in this venture, may be tempted to come up with a similar scheme.

It was also noted that while at the discussion on the Outline version, two years ago, much ado had been made about whether the public will be allowed to use the swimming pool and whether they will be expected to pay, this was completely absent from the dicsuccion today.

The granted planning permission ensures that, the public will retain unhindered access to all areas except for the swimming pool and sundeck area. A 2 metre wide passageway will also ensure that public access along the coast will remain safeguarded.

The lido is designed to be visually open and permeable, protecting the openness of the promenade used by the public while still enjoying the important views of Valletta and Manoel Island.

The Authority also imposed a condition, requesting the applicant to pay a contribution of over €16,000 for the shortfall in parking provisions within the project. The monies will be allocated to the Urban Improvement Fund and shall be used for projects proposed by the local council related to traffic management, green transport or urban improvements within the locality. The shortfall regarded 14 parking spaces estimated on the amount of employees since the pool users, being residents in the four hotels, would presumably not need cars.

  • don't miss