The Malta Independent 20 October 2019, Sunday

An A+ planning regime for Marsalforn

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 8 October 2019, 11:10 Last update: about 11 days ago

Marsalforn is quickly becoming Gozo’s version of Sliema in more ways than one.

A hub for restaurants catering for large amounts of people, situated right by the sea... one cannot help but make the comparison. But there is yet another comparison to be made... it also looks like Sliema or Bugibba, and not the parts that consist of townhouses. Marsalforn looks like a hotchpotch of mismatched buildings, with little continuity - if any - in terms of design from one building to the next.

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A photo recently sent to this newsroom shows just how the Planning Authority keeps on failing to take decisions that make sense architecturally and aesthetically for the streetscape as a whole.

An application filed back in 2018 proposed that a small block of apartments be allowed to rise further, rising above the buildings adjacent to it. This is a common issue which the Planning Authority tends to have no problem with approving, to the detriment of the entire area as a whole. It looks ugly, and creates further pressure for more buildings in the area to rise further, in a locality that already faces parking problems.

The application, which was filed back in 2018, was to extend an apartment at fourth floor level and a penthouse as a duplex on existing airspace.

The application was approved through summary proceedings, as allowed under Schedule 2 of the Development Planning Act as it fell under the category: “Construction of new residential buildings or extensions or alterations of existing residential buildings which do not create more than 16 dwelling units and their ancillary parking facilities, not in UCAs nor in ODZ nor in villa nor in bungalow areas.”

The application, according to PA documents, conformed with the relevant policies, including building heights.

This is not the only construction activity in Marsalforn that raised eyebrows. Just last September, The Malta Independent reported on another development in the area, that was extending the fourth floor level to create a full floor and to construct penthouse at receded floor level. That development also rose up higher than those surrounding it.

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