The Malta Independent 14 April 2024, Sunday
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Nursing home proposed on ODZ land at the foot of Swieqi valley

Albert Galea Saturday, 30 March 2024, 08:42 Last update: about 15 days ago

A six-floor nursing home is being proposed on ODZ land at the foot of a valley in Swieqi, plans submitted to the Planning Authority show.

The development is proposed in an Outside Development Zone at the edge of Wied Mejxu in Swieqi. The site where the development is being proposed is currently vacant.

The applicant, Joseph Mangion, is seeking permission to excavate the site and construct a Class 2A nursing home which is split across four floors, together with a recessed level which comes off a new road created off Triq Sant Andrija.

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The applicant is also proposing parking at basement level and ancillary facilities to nursing home including offices, kitchen, and a clinic.

The development will include 82 beds in 39 rooms split across the five above-ground levels, and will include a total of 1,255 square metres of recreational space for residents – 947 square metres of which will be indoors, and the remaining 308 square metres of which will be outdoors.

A 127 square metres area at the ground-floor level will serve as a multi-purpose space and a chapel.

The basement level will include 11 parking spaces and a mortuary, as per the plans submitted to the Planning Authority.

The application filed is for an Outline Development Application.

An Outline Development Permission, if granted, is an approval in principle of the full development subject to a number of reserved matters which would need to be included in a full development permit application, which would have to be filed by the applicant anyway. An outline development permit would override any future policy which might conflict with the project.

Wied Mejxu, where the development is being proposed, is a small valley which runs as something of a divider between the Tal-Ibragg area in Swieqi and Madliena. While it has already been subject owing to a special Category 1 Settlement on the Madliena side of the valley, this settlement only allowed residential development and does not include the land on which the nursing home is being proposed.

The settlement was designated in the 2006 local plans.

The valley was one of nine subject to ecological interventions by Project Green in November last year in order to remove invasive species, cleanup rubbish dumped in the valleys, and improve their health so that they may mitigate the risk of flooding.

The valley also once connected with the Ħarq Ħamiem valley, which ends at St.

George’s Bay, and which made headlines after the discovery of a cave which is the only known fully submerged terrestrial cavern in the Maltese islands.

It was threatened by development in the form of the huge Hard Rock Hotel project by db Group on what was the former Institute for Tourism Studies in Pembroke.

The development application for the nursing home is still in its early stages, with a number of entities such as the Environment & Resources Authority and Transport Malta still to submit their views on the plans which were submitted.

According to the Planning Authority’s website, representations on the project may be filed up until 3 May 2024.

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