The ERA Board has approved the final assessment on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and the Appropriate Assessment (AA) for the redevelopment of the hotel and bungalows at San Niklaw Bay and Santa Marija Bay, in Comino.

The decision comes after the applicants made several modifications to their plans as requested by the ERA, including a reduction of the originally proposed footprint and containment of the development within the current built envelope.

The final assessment was approved during the ERA Board meeting on 15th July 2022, following a thorough analysis, discussions, and the implementation of requested changes to the original documents pertaining to this development application (PA 04777/20).

ERA’s final assessment will now be referred to the Planning Authority (PA) who will assess the proposal further and take a final decision on the respective application for development permission.

Following discussions with the ERA, the developers made amendments to their plans, including, reducing the proposed project’s footprint by 5,000m2 – almost the size of a football pitch. In fact, the most significant change from the existing scenario especially at the hotel site at San Niklaw is the restoration of land closer to the coast by shifting the building envelope inland, thus reducing the footprint at San Niklaw.

Amongst the additional changes requested by the Authority, these include: the removal of 1 pier from the 2 that were initially proposed at Santa Marija; reducing the number of bungalows to 19; removing an outhouse pavilion and concierge pavilion and the rearrangement of associated footpaths. Back of house areas have been regrouped almost entirely over existing tennis courts.

In 2021, ERA requested an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) in line with the EIA Regulations (S.L. 549.46) and an Appropriate Assessment (AA) in accordance with the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Regulations (S.L. 549.44), in view of its location within Natura 2000 sites. The Authority received the EIA and AA Reports on 20th September 2021, both of which were published for a 30-day public consultation. Thus, ERA’s assessment considers the conclusions of the EIA and AA Reports, as well as the comments received from the public concerned following consultation.

Background information:

Proposed development description: – PA 04777/20 – Proposes the demolition of an existing hotel at San Niklaw Bay and existing bungalows at Santa Marija Bay. The proposed development consists of part excavation and the construction of Class 3b Hotel (140 beds) at San Niklaw Bay area and individual serviced Bungalows (21 units) at Santa Marija Bay area with ancillary facilities and amenities including Spa (Class 3c), bars/lounges (Class 4c) and restaurants (Class 4d), upgrading the existing berthing facilities (Class 3d); construction of swimming pools; reservoirs; complete upgrade of the infrastructure systems and back of house facilities. Upgrading and reinstatement of the natural ecological and existing disturbed terrain in both San Niklaw and Santa Marija areas in accordance with the Gozo and Comino Local Plan.

15 July 2022