Gozo hotel request returns to Planning Branch as architect changes design
The application for a four-story hotel in XagÄ§ra Square in Gozo has been referred to the Planning Directorate for reassessment after the architect presented modified designs in a hearing by the planning authority today ‘hui.
The passage published a report earlier today that looked into the turning point change in the listed applicant applying for the permit. The latest change came on the eve of today’s hearing, when the claim returned to Mark Agius, the original claimant.
Agius is involved in several controversial developments in Gozo and is partnering with real estate mogul Joseph Portelli in various developments.
The proposed development in XagÄ§ra seeks to retain the facade of a post-war building while demolishing the rest and erecting a four-story hotel with nine rooms and a restaurant on the ground floor.
Three low floors were designed to be crammed behind the current facade – the architect revealed that two of these floors are 2.5 meters high – while the fourth floor is set back from the facade.
However, the Planning Directorate recommended the refusal for several reasons: the incompatibility of the top floor as designed with the policies, the problems of access for people with disabilities and the proposal of a basement that would lead to excavations. which would have an â€œirreversible impact on the area of â€‹â€‹archaeological significanceâ€.
During the hearing held earlier today, the architect of the project sought to neutralize the grounds for refusal put forward. He mentioned other developments in the area where excavations had been authorized. He also introduced new architectural designs that provided for a wider main entrance and placed the fourth floor even further away from the facade.
The chairman of the board, Vince Cassar, opened the discussion by making a remark about the height of the building being “overkill” and the recessed top floor facade being too simple or austere. Other council members raised questions on several points such as the omission of field service facilities from the drawings (such as water tanks) and the need for full information on the context in which the excavations had taken place. been permitted elsewhere in the region.
A point was raised regarding the absence of objections against development. Board member Anick Bonello Cassar looked into this issue, saying she wanted to see why there were no objections. â€œThis is not the first time that the site has noticed [of applications inviting representations] have disappeared, â€she said.
A point of confusion also arose over the lack of representation of the local council. Council has learned that it is standard procedure to notify councils. The Shift was unable to independently verify whether the board had indeed been informed, or whether the email or letter to the board had fallen through the cracks (the consultation period fell into the break between the dissolution of the council and the election of the new one last year).
Sources have told The Shift of their concern in the council that the PA has not asked it to appoint a representative to participate in today’s board hearing. The project would have a considerable impact on the town square of XagÄ§ra.
The impact includes the generation of traffic and the provision of parking lots, as well as major disruption to existing entertainment venues in the square during demolition and reconstruction. Locals mingle in the square all day, especially during the summer months.
At today’s hearing, the Board finally decided to allow the architect to submit a new site plan and drawings, and management to re-assess based on the designs. modified.
The name of the hotel claimant in Gozo was changed again ahead of the PA hearing today.