A new underground car park in Sliema will be built underneath the existing playground near it-Torri and the project has nothing to do with Independence Gardens (photo above), the Sliema Local Council has clarified.
Some Sliema residents were claiming on the social media that Independence Gardens “would be destroyed to make way for a three-storey car park that would obstruct sea views and destroy trees.” One resident even said the project would affect the resident feline community.
But the Sliema council has explained that the proposal, currently at application stage, is for a 180-space car park to be built under street level at the site of the small playground (near Exiles). A new playground will replace the existing one on the same site.
It is understood that residents might have been given the wrong impression because of a technicality on the PA map server – the project boundary lines might have overlapped onto Independence Garden – but that mistake is being corrected.
The council noted that there are currently only thirty odd parking spaces near Exiles – an area that is flooded with beachgoers during the summer months. Some drivers end up parking their cars on the rocks for a lack of space. The new carpark will help alleviate the huge parking problem.
The council explained that the project was proposed to make use of Urban Improvement Funds given to the local council by the Planning Authority – the funds can only be used on traffic management/parking projects.
This newsroom was also informed that an EU standard accessible-to-all playground will be built on top of the carpark.
Furthermore, Independence Gardens will be upgraded through a new lighting system, new benches and an added number of trees.