PA publishes new height limitation policy for retirement homes

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PA publishes new height limitation policy for retirement homesThe Planning Authority has published the new approved policy document which adjusts the height limitation for retirement homes and will give these developments more flexibility.

The document sets out the policy context, the PA said, and identifies the issues and finally proposes a list of evaluation criteria which will be used to determine applications for retirement homes development which exceed the building height limitation for the site as set out in the Local Plan.

The policy also aims to incentivise improvement in the service delivery to older persons who require long-term care facilities and better their quality of life.

The PA added that the new policy allows retirement homes to increase their overall height by an additional two floors.

It explained that, “this change in the building height, over what is permitted in the Local Plan for the area, comes with the prerequisite that the resultant design features a high quality product in keeping with the urban context. No blank walls will be allowed.”

However, the PA pointed out that, the height adjustment policy cannot be applied to retirement homes that are located Outside Development Zone, along a ridge edge and Grade 1 scheduled buildings.

There is also a provision in the policy the PA said, “that in the event that the operation of a retirement home ceases, that part of the development permitted under this policy will be required to be removed at the owner’s full expense.”

The approved policy document and the submissions that the Authority received during the public consultation phase may be downloaded from the Authority’s website here.

The PA said that like many other countries, Malta faces an ageing population, mainly due to a lower fertility rate and an improvement in longevity. The 65+ age group as at 2011 represents 16.3% of the population, up from 11.4% in 1995.

It noted that data from the Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity (MFSS) shows, that between 2010 and end of September 2015, the total number of available beds increased from 3660 to 5,072, while the waiting list for admission into public homes in end of September 2015 stood at 1,551 persons.

Recent Government forecasts have estimated a need of an average additional 200 beds per year up to 2025, in public retirement homes alone.

The Planning Authority said that this necessitates an increased focus on the demand on the limited financial resources of the State, the need for supportive service and the housing and social environment of elderly persons.

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