Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg said that, despite being in its initial stages, it is clear that the Panorama Hotel does not qualify to build more storeys than is stipulated in the Local Plan. This was said in response to a Parliamentary Question by PN Whip Robert Cutajar.
Borg explained that the application for a three-storey extension to the hotel was published in the Government Gazette on the 21st November, meaning that the first 30-day period of public consultation will close on the 21st December.
The Minister explained that the Planning Authority needs to properly scrutinise the case after all stakeholders are given the chance to have their say. He said that the process could also include a phase when the applicants and their architects can submit other information, and then the second consultation phase will start. The final report will then include full recommendations regarding the case. This will have to be sent to the Planning Commission by the 11th April 2019, as long as the architect does not decide to suspend the application.
Borg explained that, at this stage, there is not enough evidence, information, or comments from all external entities for the Planning Authority to come to a legally sound conclusion. That being said, he also said that the Directorate already considered the fact that the proposal for more storeys does not conform to the ‘Height Limitation Adjustment Policy for Hotels’ approved in June 2014.
Last week, AD MEP candidate Luke Caruana submitted his official objection to the project. Cutajar, who posed the question, had objected to the development in Parliament as well.