Jerma Development Brief – prioritize our wellbeing over developers’ ambitions |  Moviment Graffitti Malta.
29/07/2020

Jerma Development Brief – prioritize our wellbeing over developers’ ambitions

Moviment Graffitti welcomes the amendments in the second consultation document in connection with the ex-Jerma Palace Hotel Development Brief, particularly the reduction in the developable volume from the excessive 100,000sqm laid down in the October 2019 consultation to 65,000sqm, but notes with disappointment that the proposed development is still grossly disproportionate to the size and infrastructure of the locality and offers little in terms of the well-being of the Marsascala residents.

We agree with the proposed demolition of the abandoned building, which is not only an eyesore for residents and tourists alike, but also poses a danger to anyone who tries to access the coast. Nonetheless, it remains evident that this Development Brief has been drafted with the primary intention to accommodate the interests of a few developers and with little concern for the well-being of the residents. Regrettably, the Development Brief totally ignores the potential deleterious effects that this large-scale development will have on the community and the surrounding environment, and which could become the tipping point towards an unlivable Marsascala.

The proposed volume of this massive development (65,000sqm floor space) constitutes more than double the volume currently occupied by the ex-Jerma Palace Hotel (30,000sqm floor space). Encouraging such a massive development by committing 65,000sqm for development is in direct contradiction to recent warnings about saturation in tourist accommodations and claims by tourism industry experts that mass tourism and large high-end projects should make way for more sustainable economic and social models and smaller-scale investments, respectively.

Moreover, the Development Brief would allow buildings to rise up to eight storeys, which is significantly higher than the current ex-Jerma structure. The St. Thomas Tower will be overshadowed by this massive development and the surrounding residences will also be dwarfed by the imposing structures.

Another point of concern is the fact that the Brief allows the use of the land for non-touristic purposes. 26,000sqm of floor space (which would translate to around 160 apartments) have been committed for residential purposes. This is in direct breach of a 1982 Parliamentary Act which decreed that the area in question could only be developed for touristic purposes. Residential development on the ex-Jerma site will only benefit the developer and will reap no social and economic benefits to the locality and its residents in the long-term.

We also note that this Development Brief runs counter to the Local Plan by including two additional areas which are not included in the area delineated by the Local Plan. Besides the ex-Jerma Palace Hotel site, the Development Brief area also includes a green area which should be accessible to the public and where no increase in height or volume is permitted, as well as a heritage site for which there is already a policy which is applicable. This inevitably taints the consultation process with irregularities.

Moviment Graffitti remains of the opinion that this Development Brief should prioritize the well-being of residents and enhance the town’s social, historical and environmental value, and not seek to accommodate developers’ interests. Any development on this site should be exclusively used for touristic purposes and should not be larger than the current volume, height and footprint occupied by the ex-Jerma Palace Hotel.

Read out the full feedback to the ex-Jerma Development Brief consultation process here.

___________________________________________________________

Id-Development Brief tal-Jerma - il-kwalità tal-ħajja għandha tingħata prijorità fuq l-ambizzjonijiet tal-iżviluppaturi

Moviment Graffitti jilqa’ l-emendi fid-dokument tat-tieni fażi ta’ konsultazzjoni f’rabta mad-Development Brief tal-eks-Jerma Palace Hotel, b’mod partikolari t-tnaqqis fil-volum li jista’ jiġi żviluppat, mill-figura esaġerata ta’ 100,000 metru kwadru li kienet ġiet stipulata fil-konsultazzjoni ta’ Ottubru 2019, għal 65,000 metru kwadru. Madanakollu, jinnota b’diżappunt li l-proposta għall-iżvilupp xorta għadha sproporzjonata għad-daqs u l-infrastruttura tal-lokalità, u ma tagħtix prijorità lill-benesseri tar-residenti ta’ Wied il-Għajn.

Aħna naqblu li l-bini li jinsab fi stat ta’ abbandun, u li mhux biss ikerrah l-ambjent tal-madwar iżda huwa wkoll ta’ periklu għal kull min jipprova jaċċessa l-kosta, għandu jiġi mwaqqa’. Iżda jibqa’ evidenti l-fatt li dan id-Development Brief ġie mfassal bl-intenzjoni primarja li jakkomoda l-interessi ta’ xi ftit żviluppaturi, mingħajr ma jikkunsidra l-benesseri tar-residenti. Sfortunatament, id-Development Brief jinjora l-effetti negattivi li dan l-iżvilupp ta’ skala hekk kbira jista’ jkollu fuq il-komunità u l-ambjent tal-madwar, u li jista’ jkun qed iwitti t-triq għal Wied il-Għajn bi kwalità tal-ħajja ħafna ifqar.

Il-volum propost ta’ dan l-iżvilupp massiċċ (65,000 metru kwadru ta’ floorspace) huwa aktar mid-doppju tal-volum li huwa okkupat mill-eks-Jerma Palace Hotel (30,000 metru kwadru ta’ floorspace). Il-fatt li dan il-Brief qed jinkoraġġixxi żvilupp massiċċ bħal dan billi jikkommetti 65,000 metru kwadru għall-iżvilupp jikkontradixxi b’mod dirett it-twissijiet li saru riċentament dwar is-saturazzjoni fl-akkomodazzjonijiet għat-turisti u d-dikjarazzjonijiet minn esperti fl-industrija tat-turiżmu li t-turiżmu tal-massa u proġetti kbar high-end jeħtieġ li jiġu sostitwiti minn mudelli ekonomiċi u soċjali sostenibbli u investimenti ta’ skala iżgħar, rispettivament.

Barra minn hekk, id-Development Brief se jippermetti li l-bini jogħla sa tmien sulari, li huwa ħafna iktar għoli mill-istruttura attwali tal-eks-Jerma. It-Torri ta’ San Tumas se jiġi mgħotti b’dan l-iżvilupp massiv u r-residenzi tal-madwar ukoll se jinbelgħu u jiġu mgħottija mill-istrutturi li se jitilgħu.

Punt ieħor li jqajjem tħassib huwa l-fatt li dan il-Brief jippermetti l-użu tal-art għal skopijiet mhux turistiċi. 26,000 metru kwadru ta’ floorspace (li jammontaw għal madwar 160 appartament) ġew kommessi għal żvilupp residenzjali. Dan huwa ksur dirett ta’ Att tal-Parlament tal-1982 li kien iddikjara li ż-żona in kwistjoni setgħet biss tiġi żviluppata għal skopijiet turistiċi. L-iżvilupp residenzjali fuq is-sit tal-eks-Jerma se jkun ta’ benefiċċju biss għall-iżviluppatur, u mhu se jħalli l-ebda benefiċċji soċjali u ekonomiċi għal-lokalità u r-residenti tagħha fit-tul.

Ninnutaw ukoll li dan id-Development Brief imur kontra l-Pjan Lokali billi jinkludi żewġ żoni addizzjonali li mhumiex inklużi fiż-żona ddemarkata mill-Pjan Lokali. Barra s-sit tal-eks-Jerma Palace Hotel, iż-żona tad-Development Brief propost tinkludi wkoll żona ekoloġika li għandha tkun aċċessibbli għall-pubbliku u fejn mhija permessa ebda żieda fl-għoli jew fil-volum, kif ukoll sit ta’ wirt storiku li għalih diġà teżisti politika applikabbli. Dawn l-irregolaritajiet inevitabbilment jitfgħu dell ikrah fuq il-proċess ta’ konsultazzjoni.

Moviment Graffitti jibqa’ jisħaq li dan id-Development Brief għandu jagħti prijorità lill-benesseri tar-residenti u jħalli impatt pożittiv fuq l-aspett soċjali, storiku u ambjentali ta’ Wied il-Għajn, mhux jipprova jakkomoda l-interessi tal-iżviluppaturi. Kwalunkwe żvilupp fuq dan is-sit għandu jintuża b’mod esklussiv għal għanijiet turistiċi u m’għandux ikun ikbar mill-volum, l-għoli u l-ispazju tal-art okkupat mill-eks-Jerma Palace Hotel.

Aqra d-dokument sħiħ li issottometta l-Moviment Graffitti għall-konsultazzjoni dwar id-Development Brief tal-Jerma hawnhekk.