Supplementary Guidance Details

Height limitation adjustment policy for retirement homes



Approval date 28-08-2017

1. Background

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. On the other hand, persons under 25 years of age make up 28.1% of the population (2011), compared to 36.6% in 1995.


This demographic re-structuring and other socio-economic factors, such as the increase in employment participation rates by women and the reduction in extended families, together with changed financial circumstances of individuals, both positive and negative, have resulted in an increase in the demand for bed spaces in retirement homes in both the public and private sectors. Ministry for the Family and Social Solidarity (MFSS) data 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. 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.


The limitation of building heights has traditionally been a key tool in the Maltese planning system, aimed primarily at controlling townscape, the urban form and densities of development in urban areas. On the other hand, the Planning Authority (PA) has encountered situations whereby existing retirement homes are unable to expand due to a number of planning constraints, including the statutory building height limitations.


Following this Introduction, this document first sets out the policy context, then identifies the issues and objectives, 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.

2. Documents

Alternate Text Approved Policy

Alternate TextPublic submissions on objectives

Alternate TextPublic Submissions on policy

Alternate Text SEA Screening Template