The planning authority has approved an application to build a hotel in Milner Street, Sliema, despite the location being designated as a residential area.
In a virtual hearing, Planning Commission members Stephania Baldacchino and Anthony Camilleri agreed that the concerns that were flagged by the case officer when they recommended the case be denied have now been resolved. They voted to grant permission for development.
Opponents who spoke at the hearing said the hotel would cause more pressure on the already problematic parking situation in the neighborhood.
Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar coordinator Astrid Vella said the area had been established as a residential area according to local plans and the presence of hotels on nearby roads could not be considered a precedent.
“It will create a bad neighborhood environment in terms of traffic, and I don’t see how the council can ignore that problem,” she said.
“It is inevitable that there will be an increase in traffic noise and parking problems.”
She added that the EPRT had revoked a similar permit for a hotel around 150 meters away and that the council had not taken into account objections made by Transport Malta about traffic problems the development could cause.
Architect Chris Cachia, who appeared for plaintiff Bonnici Brothers, said his clients chose to build a nine-story hotel, three of which are set back, as opposed to the full length allowed by the policy, and worked to answer the reasons for the refusal. described by the case manager.
He said that with the construction of a hotel, the applicant had more control over the parking situation, as if it was a residential application, residents could not be prohibited from owning cars. He added that Bonnici Brothers planned to offer free bus tickets to customers for the duration of their stay and that the company was working with language schools to accommodate customers under 18.
Vella refuted claims that living next to a student hotel was something she would “wish on her worst enemy”, saying having language students as guests would further annoy residents because noise, public drunkenness and inappropriate behavior.
She added that the height restriction “was not a God-given right” and that residents’ rights to enjoy their properties must be safeguarded.
In his closing remarks, Acting President Baldacchino said that since this was a preliminary application and not a full development permit, which must be decided in a separate procedure, the council was voting functionally on demand in principle. There was no vote against the candidacy.
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