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Was this the final election for Naxxar counting hall?

Final countdown: The Naxxar hall ahead of the 2017 vote counting process, which was probably its last. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Final countdown: The Naxxar hall ahead of the 2017 vote counting process, which was probably its last. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

The Naxxar counting hall may have seen its final election last week, with new plans submitted to transform the old trade fair grounds into a massive residential and commercial complex.

The application submitted to the Planning Authority seeks to demolish the existing buildings to build 490 apartments and 1,130 underground parking spaces, as well as more than 5,000 square metres of offices and 3,000 square metres of retail outlets.

The new plans include changes from a previous application for a similar development, which envisioned 24 blocks, including two eight-storey towers.

The current proposal includes 49 blocks on the same footprint, two of six and seven storeys and the rest between two and five.

The application is for 490 flats, 1,130 parking spaces, 5,000m2 of offices and 3,000m2 for retail outlets

The development will also encroach on the adjacent football pitch, which will be rebuilt nearby. The Naxxar site was the home of the annual trade fair for 50 years, until 2007, and has housed the counting hall for several elections since.

It was earmarked in the 2006 local plan for “high-quality residential development”, a local centre and underground car park, with the central walkway re-tained and upgraded.

The policy states that the development should consist “of small built volumes with interconnected, well-landscaped terraces and passageways that will, in time, soften the mass of the blocks”. Any developers are also required to make a financial contribution, as a planning obligation, towards a landscaped public open space and children’s play area, for which the Naxxar local council has already obtained a permit.

However, a separate application submitted last year by Fairs & Exhibitions Ltd sought to exclude the site from the local plan, which objectors feared could lead to the possible return of a trade fair, which the local council has consistently opposed.

The Naxxar trade fair grounds cover a vast area. Image: Planning AuthorityThe Naxxar trade fair grounds cover a vast area. Image: Planning Authority

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