Comprehensive plan to regenerate derelict site of former Jerma Palace hotel in Marsascala

Although the locality of Marsascala has experienced considerable population growth over the past decades, a downturn in the hotel accommodation sector within this part of the Island has deprived it of altogether benefitting off the tourism sector

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The Planning Authority has published a proposed Development Brief for the derelict site around the former Jerma Palace Hotel and its immediate environs in Marsascala.

The Brief, which is being issued for public consultation, seeks to provide a planning framework for any future comprehensive development within this area.

The brief significantly lowered the overall development density to a maximum of 65,000sqm, this after the Authority took on-board representations submitted during the initial phase of public consultation. In the proposed objectives that were to guide the brief, the overall development density could reach a maximum of 100,000sqm.

Assistant Director for Policy Formulation at the PA, Perit Joseph Scalpello said “The proposed brief is seeking a comprehensive planning solution for an urban coastal area in dire need of regeneration. Although the locality of Marsascala has experienced considerable population growth over the past decades, a downturn in the hotel accommodation sector within this part of the Island has deprived it of altogether benefitting off the tourism sector.” He added, “in line with the local plan for this area, this brief seeks to support the regeneration of this site in Marsascala for high-quality tourism development.”

The site area which forms part of this proposed brief has been divided into four distinct zones. Zone A which predominately covers the site area on which the Jerma Palace Hotel was built in the early 80s, accounts for 33% of the overall site. Within this zone, the mix and scale of uses will be apportioned for tourism accommodation purposes (33,000sqm), residential (26,000sqm), food and beverage facilities (4,200sqm) and retail (1,800sqm).

The comprehensive high quality design should seek to create a series of building blocks lying on a podium embracing a central plaza, intermixed with landscaped public open spaces. This should allow permeability and public access through and around the site and re-introduce the strong visual link between the historic St Thomas tower and the sea. Uninterrupted public access across the site to the foreshore is to be provided through adequate public pathways.

A building not exceeding 32m above sea level may be considered. Here, the brief encourages the introduction of Green Infrastructure in the overall design of the project to achieve environmental sustainability.

The foreshore which is earmarked as Zone B (35%) is to remain in its natural state with no development whatsoever and without inhibition for the public to access the remaining foreshore area outside this zone.

Zone C encapsulates the scheduled Grade 1 building of St Thomas Tower. This zone accounts for 26% of the brief’s site area. The brief calls for the restoration of the tower, towards its future public use; and the rehabilitation of the ditch and the glacis. The glacis shall be rehabilitated and made accessible to the public. The costs will be covered by a planning gain which is being imposed in the brief.

Zone D covers the public streets which shall ensure access to private property outside the brief area.

The proposed development brief together with the respective maps may be viewed on the Authority’s website www.pa.org.mt/consultation. Representations are to be made in writing and sent through e-mail address: [email protected]

Submissions on the proposed development brief are to reach the Authority by 29th July 2020.

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