Planning Authority mulling over sanctioning illegal hotel development in Sliema

Case officer currently assessing whether 1926 Hotel & Spa should be allowed to sanction permit-less construction of additional floors, bar, spa and gym

 

A Sliema hotel fraught with construction illegalities – such as the unapproved construction of additional floors, a spa and a gym – is attempting to sanction those same illegalities after the Planning Authority (PA) had refused to do so four years ago.

Specifically, the latest sanctioning application (PA/5110/21) filed by the 1926 Hotel & Spa refers to “variations” from a permit that had previously been granted in 2016. The application is being assessed by a PA case officer and is awaiting a recommendation.

While the 2016 permit allowed for “minor internal alterations” and the addition of three floors, Roosendaal Hotels Ltd (the company behind the 1926 brand) also extended the hotel’s basement and added a restaurant, spa, bar, gym and additional storeys to the building.

The 1926 Hotel & Spa as seen from the street.

Standard sanctioning applications often seek to ensure minor deviations from the original permit, like an additional window or washroom on the roof, are in line with PA policy and the original plans themselves. In this case, the amount of illegal development completely eclipses what has originally been allowed.

In fact, back in 2018 Roosendaal Hotels Ltd attempted to obtain permission and then later sanction its illegal development, but failed in its efforts. One application was withdrawn by the applicant, while the other was refused by both the PA and the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT).

While the withdrawn application had sought permission to develop the site further, the second seeks to sanction further development that was already built, meaning that the hoteliers went ahead and began building and adding more floors to their hotel without planning permission.

Roosendaal Hotels Ltd is entirely owned by Bortex Group Holdings Company Ltd, which, in turn, is owned by siblings Karen and Peter Borg.

The group is known to have developed close ties with the Labour Party decades ago, and it was the same group that had a business connection with the Leisure Clothing manufacturing factory, which was accused of trafficking North Korean, Chinese and Vietnamese workers to Malta where they were forced to labour in well-documented inhumane and illegal conditions.

Besides a questionable history of planning applications, the 1926 Hotel and Spa site has also been slapped with two enforcement notices since 2005.

The first enforcement notice, which was closed off after sanctioning permission was granted, is relatively minor and refers to the roofing of an internal ground floor shaft and the creation of a new access door without a permit (EC/273/05).

Another enforcement notice filed in 2019 specifically refers to works without a permit consisting of alterations on all the hotel’s floors, including an extension to the 10th floor and the construction of a penthouse on the 11th floor.

This enforcement notice was appealed by the hoteliers and remains pending befotre the EPRT, with the next hearing scheduled for 6 October. According to the PA’s site, daily fines on the enforcement notice are still due to the Authority.

                           
                               
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KLAUS
KLAUS
30 days ago

Dear PA,

How does it actually work with the PL (= Party of the looters) then actually?

A thesis says that one half goes to ROBBER Abela and the other 50% remain with the approvers?
Is that true or is it just a very nasty rumor?

Best,
Klaus

Francis Said
Francis Said
30 days ago

The PA is a great farce. Pity it is more tragical than comedy.
What a shame of an organisation that allows such impunity to go on.
This unfortunately has spread like wildfire in Maltese society.

Mar
Mar
30 days ago

Who legally built in Malta ???? There are favors no laws in Malta, just see what is happening in Qawra, here everyone does what they want …

carlos
carlos
29 days ago

Misruqin minn

Stephen ABELA
Stephen ABELA
29 days ago

Personally I would have found this objectionable a few years back. However it seems that some “developpers” are above the law in this would be country, so why not this one as well? The laws should apply for everyone or the authorities lose thier credibility. So is there not enough “motivation” flowing in this case?

John Borg
John Borg
29 days ago

They built illegally and got served with enforcement (albeit their alleged closed ties to PL). All regular and PA did her job. If they accept the new permits/sanctions then that’s another discussion. But let’s keep an objective conversation and at least admit that in this case the PA did its job. I’m not sure that this article merited publishing to be honest.

James Micallef
James Micallef
28 days ago
Reply to  John Borg

The only answer to rampant overdevelopment without permit is to force them to return to the original state at their own cost or shut down until compliant. Non payment of fines should see jail time for owners for contempt.
Otherwise the fine is just a cost of doing business. Just like the donations /bribes

Joe Borg
Joe Borg
27 days ago
Reply to  James Micallef

That is a good proposal – applicable to various illegalities not only the one singled out here

Last edited 27 days ago by Joe Borg
Greed
Greed
29 days ago

This is the way to go for all greedy development is build first apply after and 99.9% of the time it is approved hence now all the big boys and 60% of the little ones do it as well with the mentality being he did it why can’t I?

Richard Spiteri
Richard Spiteri
28 days ago

Check it out:
India demolishes illegal 100-metre ‘twin towers’ outside Delhi

Court-ordered demolition of 850 flats seen as stern warning to developers amid rampant illegal construction

Last edited 27 days ago by Richard Spiteri
Mar
Mar
23 days ago

but in your opinion, if there was corruption and secret agreements, how would these companies come to Malta to create their businesses..

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