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New proposed policy by MEPA for tall buildings – None are to be allowed in Gozo

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New proposed policy by MEPA for tall buildings - None allowed in GozoThe Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) is issuing for public consultation a new Policy Framework for a clear and comprehensive evaluation can be carried out on the use and design of tall buildings in appropriate strategic locations in Malta.

Sites which are located in Gozo, Urban Conservation Areas, protected areas, ridges, Outside Development Zones and residential priority areas will not be eligible.

The designated appropriate locations for tall buildings, identified in the policy framework, are the general area surrounding and including the Marsa Park and Gzira employment node predominantly for office uses and the Qawra peninsula, Paceville and Tigne peninsula predominantly for tourism/leisure uses.

The proposed policy framework also calls for the submission of detailed studies which need to accompany any development application for a tall building and include an urban design study/character appraisal, a Visual Impact Assessment, a Transport Assessment, a Social Impact Assessment and a written Design Statement.

The proposed policy defines a building to be “tall” when it is more than twice as high as the maximum building height limitation for the locality established by the Local Plan or more than ten floors (40m), whichever is the lower, when measured from the lowest street level. Buildings, which are higher than the statutory building height limitations but are not determined to be tall as they are equal to or less than twice the statutory building height or ten floors (40m) are considered as medium-rise.

For a tall building project to be considered, the proposed policy framework states that the site must be within the strategic locations identified, the site must occupy a completely detached urban block surrounded by existing streets and must comply with the criteria on land-use, infrastructure, transport, context, public realm, legibility and architectural design, micro climate, sustainability and safety and with the provisions of the Guidelines on the Methodology for use of the Floor Area Ratio (FAR).

For medium-rise buildings, the Floor Area Ratio policy can be applied to development applications outside the strategic area should planning objectives such as urban regeneration or provision of open space be achieved and the site area covers a minimum of 5,000sqm.

Last September, the Authority had published the proposed objectives which were to guide the formulation of this proposed policy framework. The Authority is publishing the submissions it had received from the public and other stakeholders related to the proposed policy objectives.

A public meeting to discuss the details of this proposed policy framework will be held on Tuesday, the 10th of December 2013, at MEPA Boardroom, St Ravelin Floriana, at 16.00hrs.

The draft policy can be viewed on the Authority’s website

Individuals and organisations are being invited to send their submissions pertaining to this draft policy in writing to the:

MEPA, Director of Planning, Floor Area Ratio (FAR) Policy, P.O. Box 200, Marsa MRS 1000; or through email on:

Submissions should reach the Authority by Friday, the 10th of January 2014.

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    1 Response

    1. Mick Cundy says:

      I still don’t understand why some are intent on destroying Malta’s identity and culture with these buildings. With so many empty properties that could be renovated (or perhaps if in too bad a state demolished and replaced in keeping with surroundings) it seems strange to me to undermine Malta’s appeal. There will also be a risk that visitors will go elsewhere and thus income could be reduced from visitors. It’s a fine balancing act but I think that this ‘progress’ is out of balance.

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