HV Hospitality

The company behind the luxury hotel project in Comino has welcomed the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of appeals from NGOs over an environmental impact assessment.

HV Hospitality, a subsidiary of Hili Ventures, has plans to transform both the Comino hotel at San Niklaw Bay and the bungalows at Santa Marija Bay into a sustainable five-star wellness retreat, to be managed by the globally-acclaimed Six Senses brand.

However, this project has come under increased criticism from a number of NGOs, with them stating that they want to protect the island from further commercialisation and over-construction.

The NGOs stated that the Court of Appeal turned down their appeal over the adequacy of the Appropriate Assessment Report which was given the go-ahead by Environment and Resources Authority (ERA). Despite this, they reaffirmed their desire to continue opposing the project.

HV Hospitality on Thursday stated that the outcome of the decision “re-confirms the adequacy and good standing of the environmental studies carried out so far.”

HV Hospitality Comino

“The environmental studies carried out to date on the proposed development have been confirmed as correct by ERA, the Environmental and Planning Review Tribunal, and now by the Court of Appeal,” the company continued.

HV Hospitality said that it takes its Natura 2000 responsibilities “very seriously” and it is investing in the redevelopment of the Comino hotel and bungalows “not only on a smaller footprint than the existing buildings, but also through the use of materials, technology and design which are compatible with the Nature 2000 status of the sites.”

The NGOs had stated that the development would involve the “substantial excavation, the destruction of extensive protected garigue habitat,” together with impacts to flora and fauna, as well as the marine environment.

HV Hospitality countered these claims, saying that the project will increase the protected garigue habitat and reduce the land taken up from the coastline.

The company also claimed that it will restore over 8,244 square metres of built-up area back to its natural state through an unprecedented regeneration process “involving more than 55,000 endemic trees, shrubs and plants.”

“HV Hospitality has partnered with Six Senses precisely to ensure that the site does not turn into a commercial village but into a carefully maintained and protected eco-luxury resort that can help Malta take a big step towards low-impact quality tourism,” it continued.

The company stated that it is now looking forward the decision from the Planning Authority and “remains open to dialogue with the NGOs.”

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