Labor MP Glenn Bedingfield has spoken out against the dormitory project as part of the AUM campus in Cospicua, saying the existing buildings are sufficient for the “dozen students” of the fledgling university.
A number of requests have been made by the AUM, in particular for the restoration and extension of what is called the Knights building on the waterfront. Another proposal concerns the construction of an administrative building between the Knights building and the British building.
The Planning Directorate recommended the approval of these two projects but spoke against the proposed dormitory, which is proposed to be built in an area currently used as a parking lot near Senglea Gate.
The dormitory project near Senglea Gate
Management commented on the height of the building, which would be close to 20 meters, and the impact that such a development would have on Senglea’s skyline.
The claims are expected to be decided by the planning authority’s board on September 12.
In a tweet, Bedingfield said building on all the open spaces around Dock 1 “doesn’t make sense.”
The Knights Building extension project
The MP had been one of the main voices in favor of the project and argued that it would lead to the regeneration of the area. The project, which was originally planned to attract some 4,000 students, would also benefit businesses in surrounding communities, it was argued.
But the MP now appears to have taken a more critical stance, even addressing AUM’s low enrollment rate. “For a dozen students, this building adjacent to the existing ones is too big. The existing buildings are more than sufficient for AUM, ”he said.
Bedingfield added that the beautiful entrance to Saint-Michel d’Isla Bastion will be hidden behind the proposed dormitory.
Building on all the open spaces around Dock 1 doesn’t make sense. The beautiful entrance to the Saint-Michel d’Isla bastion will be hidden behind this building. For a dozen students, this building adjoining the existing ones is too big. The existing buildings are more than sufficient for the AUMs. pic.twitter.com/BJKEmavCK3
– Glenn Bedingfield (@GlenBedingfield) August 8, 2019
Last week, he urged authorities to listen to what residents of Senglea and Cospicua are saying and to consider alternative sites for the dormitory. These, he said, could include the “Fortizza tas-Salvatur” in Kalkara or the “Palazz tal-Kaptan tal-Galjuni” on the Birgu waterfront. His suggestion was approved by the heritage NGO Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar.
Besides the first real estate on Pier 1 of Cospicua, AUM also received a large virgin land in Zonqor, Marsascala. The government has insisted that the land will not be used if AUM fails to attract enough students.