The Malta Independent 25 September 2022, Sunday
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Plans to construct new ITS campus in Smart City go before PA board this week

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 8 August 2022, 10:15 Last update: about 3 months ago

Plans to construct the new hospitality campus of the Institute of Tourism Studies (ITS) in Smart City are set to be discussed by the Planning Board on Thursday.

The application, which was filed in 2016, proposes the construction of the campus as well as an ancillary gymnasium, indoor pool and spa, and two levels of underground parking.  

ITS was originally located in Pembroke, on the site where the db Group intends to build a highly controversial hotel. The ITS was moved to Luqa in 2018 temporarily, and will eventually be moved to the Smart City complex.

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The site in question is located to the southwest of Smart City, close to a rural hamlet in the area of San Rokku and occupies an area of approximately 9,150 square meters. Currently, access to the site is through the urban pocket to the south of the site, via Triq Guze Porsella Flores. “The site comprises of vacant and disturbed land that has partly been excavated; the excavation is located towards the southwest corner of the site and is surrounded by vacant land within the confines of Smart City. Once the whole network of Smart City will be completed the site will be accessible throughout a ring road,” the case officer penned in their report.

The case officer said that the site is already covered by a master plan issued in an outline development permission which provided the parameters for the construction of an ICT City years ago.

The artistic impressions for this project were in fact drawn up and submitted to the PA by firm Maniera Group back in 2017. 

As part of the master plan, maximum building heights for each plot were established, the report read. The maximum height for the site in question is 30 metres for the plots that will be taken up by this development, it added. “The ITS campus block has a proposed overall height of 29.24 meters (…) and thus the proposal is in line with the parameters as established by the Smart City master plan.”

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage had stated that the proposed development would potentially impact the skyline and views of the Grand Harbour when seen from Valletta and requested additional information and details, the report read. “Following review of additional documentation, the SCH stated that it had no objection to the development provided that the proposed height of the hotel component will be in accordance with the master plan for the Kalkara/Ricasoli Area.

The Design Advisory Committee also stated that the height of the proposed hotel is to be reduced so that not to exceed the approved height in the master plan. Following the above and a discussion with the Development Management Directorate, the hotel component has been removed from the latest drawings and therefore the proposal is in line with the above-mentioned master plan,” the report read.

The Development Management Directorate is recommending the proposed development for approval.

Initially being based in Pembroke, ITS moved after the land it was based in was sold off to db group for a massive project which is yet to be approved.

The school has since been based in the former Air Malta offices close to the Malta International Airport.

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