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News | Wednesday, 10 March 2010 Issue. 154

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Town Square tower slashed from 32 to 23 storeys

The proposed Town Square tower on the site of the former Union Club in Sliema has been slashed down from 32 storeys to 23 storeys, but a new tower rising to 15 storeys is also being proposed alongside the central tower.
An update to the Environment Planning Statement presented by the developers states that the building heights were changed following discussions with MEPA.
Apart from the new 15-storey block in an area originally earmarked for a four-storey block, another block has seen its height increase from 4 to 7 storeys. The towers will be sited on the south-western and south-eastern corners of the site, while the rest of site will include a large open-air piazza and low level development in the vicinity of Villa Drago.
Further studies commissioned by the developers show the wind impact of the project and the shadowing on the neighbourhood will have a minor impact.
But the same study acknowledges that the project will increase the shadowing on the public open spaces along the Qui-Si-Sana seafront. “The scheme will extend this impact further over the sea. It will also impact additional areas of the rocky foreshore at noon insofar as there will no longer be patches of sunshine.”
The EPS update also assesses the impact on the landscape. The greatest visual impact is felt from a viewpoint near the Preluna Hotel where the skyline will be broken by the tower as well as by the Fort Cambridge development. This impact on this spot is deemed to be major.
Since the site sits behind the Fort Cambridge and Midi developments, the view from Is-Sur tal-Inglizi in Valletta is deemed to be minor. The development is not visible from Bighi, Vittoriosa and barely noticeable from Mdina and from Smart City.
Despite the changes made to the development, Alternattiva Demokratika is still objecting to the scale of the project. “The proposal will once again represent over-development in an already congested area in Sliema which is just a few meters away from Fort Cambridge and MIDI,” AD chairperson Michael Briguglio told MaltaToday.
AD claims this development will have adverse impacts not only on the landscape but also in terms of traffic and an increase in pollution, dust particulate and noise. The party also questioned the need for new apartments in a country where nearly 60,000 built up units are vacant.


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