The planning authority has approved the building of a 424-car car park, supermarket, offices, shops and residences in St Julian’s.
Board members Victor Axiak, Franco Montesin and Alex Vella voted against while the rest voted in favour.
The Spinola Park project, based on a 3,880 square meter site, includes a car park of 424 cars, a supermarket, shops, a cafe, a fitness centre, offices and apartments between the parish church and the primary school on Mikiel Ang Borg Road.
Architect Ray DeMicoli said that the project aimed to respect the landscape of the area and includes a terraced element with trees and plants on the terraces. There is also a roof garden.
The facades of two houses on Lapsi Street will be retained and three storeys as well as a recessed floor can be built in that road. No trucks will pass through Lapsi Street during construction. A war time shelter found during inspections of the houses on Lapsi Street will be retained.
The supermarket entrance will be on the side of Mikiel Ang Borg Road. The project will link the two roads to the benefit of residents. The bulk of the project, 53 per cent, will be dedicated to parking, 20 per cent to offices.
70,000 cubic meters of material will be excavated of which 50,000 cubic meters will be recycled. It will be crushed and used for concrete, off site.
Deputy chairman Franco Montesin said that while the project was a good one in its own right, one had to keep in mind that it started off as the building of a car park to alleviate the parking problem in the area.
“Let us not illude ourselves that this project will alleviate the traffic problem,” he said adding that the building of shops and a supermarket would generate more traffic.
Mr DeMicoli explained that these were necessary to make the building of the car park feasible since there was a low parking demand during weekdays. He added that there was a demand for offices in the area.
The traffic impact assessment concluded that traffic would increase but would not impact any existing problems in junctions in the area