The latest proposal being made by developer Charles Camilleri for the Jerma site includes a 13-storey hotel as well as an apartment complex. This was confirmed in a local council meeting held yesterday evening.
A vote was taken during the local council meeting in which only Nationalist councillor Charlot Cassar voted against while Labour Deputy Mayor Desiree Attard abstained. Labour Mayor Mario Calleja and the two other PN councillors voted in favour of the project in a rare show of cross party consensus in favor of a development project.
The council was called to vote on a project which has not yet been submitted to the planning process, so any environmental studies on the impact of the project have not yet started.
The council was previously against the development of apartments on the site of the old Jerma Hotel in Marsascala.
A letter sent by the council’s Executive Secretary to the Planning Authority in July 2015 stated that “the council is opposed to any application which includes the development of apartments”.
During yesterday’s meeting Cassar reiterated his position that the “government should buy land and give it back to people as open space”.
The building height of the project ranges from 13 storeys to seven storeys and includes apartments. The development will occupy a 7,000 square metre footprint with a floor area of 61,000 square metres.
A 10,500 square metre public park is being proposed around St Thomas tower. The foreshore will not be impacted by the development, according to the proposal.
A public meeting to discuss the project with residents will be held on 19 January.
Plans for land reclamation proposed in 2016 do not feature in the latest proposal made by the developer to the local council. The plans had included two residential towers, one of 44 and another of 32 storeys, together with a 22-storey hotel on reclaimed land in the vicinity.
Marsascala was not identified among the localities where high rise development over 11 storeys could be proposed, but another policy regulating building heights for hotels allows an unlimited number of storeys on hotels where the design “constitutes a landmark having unique aesthetic characteristics within the urban context”.
In September 2016 the owners of the former Jerma Palace Hotel in Marsascala appealed against an Enforcement Order by the Planning Authority. The appeal is still pending. At the time, the Marsascala local council had voted against a proposal by Cassar, urging the government to buy back the site and turn it into an open space for the public to enjoy. The motion had been seconded by the Deputy Mayor.