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Birkirkara residents concerned about application to demolish villa and trees

Permit requested to create parking spaces to serve another development nearby that has not yet been approved

Birkirkara residents remain concerned about an application submitted to the Planning Authority to demolish an existing villa and its garden to make way for 70 parking spaces to be used during the construction phase of the redevelopment of Smart Supermarket.

The application, submitted in 2016, proposes the demolition of a two-storey villa – Villa Moira, located on 239, Triq in-Naxxar and Triq Wied Balzan – to provide a temporary parking space to serve the proposed works outlined in an application for an overhaul of Smart Supermarket, which has not yet been approved.

The case officer recommended a refusal of the application on the basis that it was premature since the application for the supermarket itself has not yet been given the go-ahead. Apart from the demolition of the villa, the application would necessitate the removal of 54 trees, mostly fruit trees, with one listed as rare, according to the Environment Authority.

The case officer also pointed out that the development would affect traffic flows on linked roads. This was one of the main concerns expressed by residents who spoke to The Shift News.

A decision on the application is suspended to allow the applicant to obtain approval to submit the application from the Government Property Division within the Lands Authority, according to Planning Authority documents.

The application was filed in the same year that an application for the redevelopment of the Smart Shopping Complex was submitted. The demolition of existing buildings and the reconstruction of the new shopping complex was planned over four phases.

The project will consist of: a car park on five levels constructed during the first two phases, as well as phased reconstruction of Class 4B supermarket, Class 4B retail outlets, Class 4D food outlets, bakery, offices and storage.

The construction of the new supermarket complex is expected to last approximately six years, once the permit is approved.

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