The Malta Independent 9 August 2020, Sunday

Marsascala waterpolo pitch application to be decided Thursday

Monday, 27 July 2020, 07:02 Last update: about 13 days ago

The Planning Authority Board is set to decide the fate of an application for the construction of a waterpolo pitch and club house in Marsascala on Thursday.

The site is located beneath the Marsascala seafront promenade along Triq is-Salini. The site’s area is approximately 6,075m², including the sea. It consists of a series of arches supporting the overlying promenade area, with parts of the space characterized by rock outcrops. The area is characterized by marine related activities.

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The proposed structure has three levels, namely the basement level, the deck level and the promenade level. The basement level includes various storage areas, reservoirs and the pool pump room and services area. The deck level includes the changing rooms and sanitary facilities, the supporters’ stand, a multipurpose room, the main pool and deck and a restaurant with attached kitchen and storage areas. The promenade level will include the enclosed stairwell and lift providing access to the underlying levels and a goods lift, the case officer’s report reads. “The latter provides access to the stores at basement level. Provided with the difference in level between the promenade and underlying area, keeping in mind the overall context and choice of colours and materials, from a visual point of view, there is no objection to the introduction of this building in this high part of the promenade. The proposed water polo pitch, the club house and their amenities are considered as an upgrade of the existing pitch facilities in this locality, to be up to date with other pitches in the Island,” the case officer’s report read.

However the proposal has received a number of objections. Among the objections, were arguments that the Bay is too narrow for such a pool/pitch. “Another pool complex is already there and can accommodate all this without disrupting further the village,” some objectors wrote. Others said that the proposal also runs counter to Coastal Objective 1.1a of the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) 2015, “given that the proposal in question does not enhance public use of bathing areas but indeed seeks to discourage residents and visitors from making use of the natural sea environment, given that the proposed area would be occupied with the building itself.”

Other arguments included that the roof of the development shall be an extension to the existing promenade creating a larger open space “which could easily be used to increase the commercial activity for further development such as kiosks, and therefore creating a possible precedent to development on this side of the bay which would result as a detriment to the value of the properties of existing residences.”

The Planning Directorate assured that public access to the sea will not be hindered and that no kiosks are being proposed on the roof of the building, namely the extended promenade area, among other things. It also said that the development falls within an Entertainment Priority Area.

The case officer concluded that “the marine based recreational use proposed in this proposal is considered favourably in principle, in view of its compliance with the Local Plan’s designation for the area. The proposed pitch with its facilities is considered an acceptable improvement to today’s standards from the current state of this under-utilised public area and the existing pitch on the other side of the bay.” The application is recommended for approval.

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