The Malta Independent 7 August 2020, Friday

PA Board to decide Zebbug Lidl supermarket application on Thursday

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 13 July 2020, 07:07 Last update: about 24 days ago

The Planning Authority Board is set to decide on an application proposing the construction of a Lidl supermarket in Zebbug, which includes a car park on land located outside the development zone, on Thursday

The application has been recommended for approval by the Planning Directorate. The site is the SMW Cortis Building on Triq l-Imdina c/w, Triq H'Attard, Zebbug.

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This full development permission application is to demolish all existing structures belonging to a disused factory, the excavation of a basement, the construction of an underground car park and a ground floor supermarket.

The proposed application has seen a number of objections received from ENGOs.

A representation letter was submitted from Futur Ambjent Wiehed objecting to the proposal in view of the take-up of ODZ land. This was also argued by Futur Ghal Ambjent Ahjar and Din L-Art Helwa, among other things. Nature Trust also objected to the proposed development, arguing that it would result in increased traffic in the area, that local village shops will suffer, that the building has a negative aesthetic, among other things.

According to the case officer’s report, “a representation was received from the Haz- Zebbug Local Council objecting,” in view of a number of reasons.

The local council argued that the site is located Outside Development Zone; that the Haz- Zebbug Local Plan is to maintain Zebbug as a residential area whilst encouraging local retail outlets within the urban periphery and village centre and that the rural fringe should be reserved from further urban sprawl. The council, according to the case officer’s report, also highlighted that the proposal will result in traffic congestion and parking pressure on nearby residents, among other things.

The Zebbug local council requested that a Traffic Impact Assessment be carried out, and also that the establishment's parking facilities are to be utilised by the general public during mass events and that ground level parking facilities are to be available for the public at all times without payment, among other things.

In terms of the application and the site, the total site area has an approximate area of 13,846m². The case officer’s report reads that “the present building footprint is 2,095m² which is approximately 15% site coverage. The approved footprint is 4,579m² (33.1% site coverage) and the proposed footprint is 2,200m² (15.9% site coverage). The buildings are surrounded by a total area of 3,106sqm of landscaping, equivalent to 22.4% of site area. The remaining area shall consist of circulation space between the buildings and includes parking spaces and turning circles for the trailers and vehicles.”

In addition, The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage noted that the site is adjacent to a Grade 1 scheduled Windmill, known as il-Mitħna ta’ Srina. Some historical rural structures are also present within the site boundary. The Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee encouraged restoration of the historical Windmill which remarked is in dire need of restoration as part of the rest of the project as heritage gain. The applicant however submitted a covering letter stating that the windmill does not form part of the project and belongs to third parties.

The case officer has recommended that the case be approved, against a bank guarantee of €29,900, to cover any failure to implement the landscaping scheme or to maintain the landscaping to the satisfaction of the Planning Authority.

 

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