Sliema residents, NGOs object to 11-storey Stivala hotel in residential area

Sliema residents, Moviment Graffitti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, and a number of other organisations turned up in Sliema this afternoon at a press conference to “express disgust” over an application for an 11-storey hotel within a residential zone.

The planning application, lodged by developer Michael Stivala, has already been recommended for approval by the Planning Authority and it will be decided upon by the Planning Commission on 22 November.

The participants said in a joint statement that, “Stivala’s proposal would tower over the historic gardens of Villa Bonici, the last remaining green lung in Sliema, and be a cause of added congestion and noise pollution in an already overburdened residential area.

“We echo the residents’ anger in noting that the case officer that is recommending the project for approval acknowledges that a tourist establishment is not accepted by policy within the zone, but states that since there are other tourism establishments in the vicinity, this proposed project can be deemed acceptable. However, the buildings in the immediate vicinity all around the site’s perimeter and the block within which it is situated are indeed solely residential.”

Residents in attendance voiced concern over the way in which Stivala, the current chairperson of the Malta Developers’ Association, has operated in his ventures across Sliema and Gżira – with, they say, total impunity, arrogance, and disregard for the areas’ residents.

Stivala’s presence on Parisio Street so far has already been mired in illegal and irregular works, which the NGOs recalled Monday “saw him bulldozing decades-old trees and an old stone well, tearing down part of a vernacular farmhouse, as well as jeopardising the integrity of the Villa Bonici garden walls in order to run the plot as a private car park, works which he then applied to have partially sanctioned, with no repercussions”.

With its bending of policies and weak to non-existent enforcement, participants said it was difficult not to question whether the PA truly seeks to act ‘on behalf of the community to provide a balanced and sustainable environment’, as per its mission statement.

They also pointed to the fact that the country does not expect to have enough demand for the number of hotels already in operation, and that approving more such projects was therefore illogical.

“The public, as well as organisations supporting them, have no faith in Michael Stivala’s word, nor in the PA’s enforcement of regulations, and they will not be won over by talk of an agreement that would see Stivala maintain a pedestrian passageway and a storm-water culvert linking upper and lower Parisio Street,” participants said in a joint statement.

“Therefore, they will be using all means possible to keep Stivala’s towering hotel from being developed.”

The press conference was attended by residents with the participation of Moviment Graffitti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Grow 10 Trees, Din l-Art Ħelwa, S-Cubed, Friends of the Earth and BirdLife Malta.

                           
                           
                               
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Belinda Mifs
Belinda Mifs
24 days ago

Why do we need so many hotels we dont have enough tourists to fill the hotels we have

Why not build something that benefits the Maltese people instead

Paul Pullicino
Paul Pullicino
24 days ago

First apply for an 11 storey hotel in residential area. After public outcry, reduce it to 9 storeys. PA issues permit for “tourist hotel”. Build and run it on empty for two years and then apply for permit to convert to 18 apartments.

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