The proposed Mistra Village project lies on a ridge and will have a huge and permanent visual impact on the surrounding area, states Din l-Art Helwa, adding that that no high-rise buildings should be constructed on ridges. The organisation is set firmly against this project in principle and finds its design ordinary, and against the requirements of the Local Plan for the area.
The Local Plan NWSP25 specifically requires the MEPA board to ensure that the redevelopment of MistraVillage has “a noteworthy urban and architectural design of the highest calibre” and that it “provides the highest quality in architectural form and details.”
Din l-Art Helwa asks whether the members of the MEPA Board, who will be voting on this project on Thursday, truly consider that this monstrous high-rise scheme can be accepted as “a noteworthy urban and architectural design of the highest calibre”?
MEPA is recommending the granting of a full permit to this project, on the basis of an existing outline permit which Din l-Art Helwa has requested to be revoked due to incomplete and irregular procedures. While the outline permit considered the general parameters of the project, the design of the project is to be evaluated in the full permit being discussed on Thursday.
Din l-Art Helwa contends that the design of this project is not of the “highest calibre” as it is an exercise in concentrating maximum number of flats within volumes imposed on a site, with no attempt at contextuality, elegance of materials or underlying concept. ‘The project is merely a sheer exploitation of a site’ stated the organisation.
Din l-Art Helwa considers that the design has not interpreted the ridge lines or considered visual studies from the nearby higher plateau near Selmun. When seen from afar, the project will be obtrusive not solely due to scale but also because of the assertive manner in which the blocks jut out towards the landscape. The proposed materials do not reflect the rural nature of the area and no attempt has been made to incorporate landscaping within the numerous balconies. The surface quality does not reflect any form of underlying concept and no visible attempt has been made to study the orientation of the buildings. This is a flat 2D construction completely insensitive to its visual and social impact which will be permanent.
Transport Malta ignores traffic concerns
When evaluating the proposal at Mistra, the experts at Transport Malta clearly stated in reference to the single lane traffic on the Xemxija to Mellieha route, that “the present situation will be significantly exacerbated with any additional load, let alone the load of the magnitude as anticipated by this project.”
However a letter of August 2013 sent to MEPA by the CEO of Transport Malta, James Piscopo, disregards these concerns and states that Transport Malta has “no objection” to the project. Din l-Art Helwa requests Mr Piscopo to provide a clear justification for this position, which gives a green light to the high traffic impact of this project previously acknowledged by Transport Malta experts.
Din l-Art Helwa states that the outline permit leading to this application should be revoked on the grounds of irregular procedures and that, in any case, the design proposed for this massive development is not acceptable anywhere let alone in a ridge area of extremely high landscape value that is important at a national level.