An application for a large development which will develop a number of residences for persons with disability, while also including facilities for their families was approved by the Planning Authority board today.
The project, previously known as the Naxxar disability hub – now known as Project Reach – had seen wide public debate when first announced with concerns that such a hub would segregate persons with disability, rather than move for inclusion. These arguments were countered by the architect, who said that the project is more of a community project, which is open and is in an urban area, and thus does not create segregation.
This full development application proposed the construction of a mixed use residential project for persons with disability. The development, which will consist of four separate blocks will comprise of semi-independent living residential units, a community building, restaurant and cafeteria, a retail outlet, a convenience store, offices, Gym and Therapy Pool, landscaped areas and a basement parking area.”
According to the application, in total there will be 78 residential units as well as 26 hostel rooms. It will include 151 car parking spaces, 42 accessible for all car parking spaces and 20 motorcycle spaces.
During their presentation, the architect said that there will be open grounds and landscaping. The aim, the board heard, is for the project to be as barrier free as possible.
“The project is as low impact as possible. Parking is occurring underground. The site will include gathering places and play areas,” the architect said, in addition to housing a day centre.
The board heard that such projects are done on a universal design basis, where people residing on site feel safe and do not need to walk far to, for example, a cafeteria, while at the same time are not being closed off from society.
Robert Musumeci, appearing as a legal consultant, said that the development must be taken in the context of several laws and policies. He said that the project is a development in an urban area and so it does not result that the people residing here would be segregated from the community.
The case officer noted that parking standards show that this development requires a total of 300 parking spaces. “However, it is emphasized that this development is a social community facility aimed at providing persons with limited mobility with accommodation, work places and other facilities, therefore a large portion of users will not require parking. In fact, the 150 wheel chair spaces originally proposed have now been reduced to 43 spaces, whilst more standard spaces are now proposed. A total of 213 car and motorcycle parking spaces are being proposed.”
The Naxxar council said it is a good project, however noted concern with regards to traffic on existing roads.
Original article found on The Malta Independent