Mistra Village encroachment on roads a ‘safety necessity’ – local council

The construction of a boundary wall surrounding the former Mistra Village site in Xemxija, which has expanded the project’s footprint by several metres into surrounding residential roads, is an unavoidable “necessity for the safety of residents,” according to the local council.

Over the past weeks, works on a nine-storey residential and commercial complex saw new boundary walls constructed around the site’s perimeter, significantly narrowing residential roads and removing critical parking spaces according to residents.

In comments to The Shift, St Paul’s Bay Mayor Alfred Grima said the council had “no option” but to allow the extension, as the works would otherwise cause a safety risk to residents.

“It would be irresponsible to refuse such safety measures considering the ongoing multi-storey excavation,” he said.

The site’s developer, Charles Camilleri of Gemxija Crown Ltd, is building a four-block residential and commercial complex spread over nine storeys, expected to include some 750 apartments.

The project’s permit is still under review by the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal (EPRT) following a Court of Appeals case which ruled the EPRT’s dismissal of an earlier appeal must be re-evaluated. The EPRT review process has been ongoing since 2019, while works at the site commenced in March 2023.

The latest application, PA/6747/18, is a renewal of a previous application from 2008, which objectors to the project say no longer meets current planning standards and policies and should be revoked.

The new walls have been built on the site’s perimeter, encroaching on Triq Raddet ir-Roti, Triq il-Fuħħar and Triq Katerina Vitale.

Residents have spoken up on online groups, claiming the new construction has reduced parking spaces in an area already lacking them. The changes, they said, have led to the creation of a potential accident blackspot at one of the roads’ intersections.

The development continues despite multiple stop notices throughout October following infringements by the developer and safety issues.

The walls surround almost the entire site, significantly increasing its footprint on residential roads eating up parking spaces.

A permit for the works, initially set to expire in February 2024, has been extended following the hushed passing of a legal notice in November. The notice extended the validity of permits expiring next year by an additional three years.

The measure forms part of a raft of government decisions that appear to have aided the project’s development, including an amendment to no-construction tourist zones this summer. The amendment allowed expedited works to continue at the site.

The measures have resulted in excavation works at the site day and night. In September, the works spilt over the site’s boundary for the first time as the original walls were dismantled.

A sitting in which the appellants’ final submissions will be presented before the EPRT tribunal is set for January 2024. Following the meeting, the EPRT is expected to decide on the permit’s validity despite the work starting almost a year ago.

A legal amendment that would halt works under appeal, promised by Prime Minister Robert Abela in May, has so far only resulted in a government white paper for consultation.

                           

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2 Comments
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Brian Borg
Brian Borg
2 months ago

Thanks for caring, Gemxija x

Arleen J Barlow
Arleen J Barlow
2 months ago

corruption at its best

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