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Concern has been expressed that a proposed development would hide from view the San Lawrenz church and change the streetscape of Triq il-Wileġ.

Apartment block planned next to Nicholas Monsarrat’s former San Lawrenz home

  • Post category:News & Press
  • Reading time:3 mins read

The owner of Nicholas Monsarrat’s former residence in San Lawrenz fears a repeat of planning decisions that recently gave the go-ahead to development in Qala and Sannat, despite both being recommended for refusal.

Godfrey Swain, the current owner of the house where the renowned author penned The Kappillan of Malta, is raising alarm bells about a proposed development adjacent to his property in San Lawrenz.

The development has been split in two adjacent sites and is being proposed in separate applications. 

It would see the construction of basement garages, overlying apartments and a penthouse. Both proposals have been recommended for refusal.

Among others, the case officer who recommended refusal has noted that the proposal does not reflect the existing streetscape and does not safeguard the existing traditional and rural character of the area.

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage said the existing façade of the pre-1968 property, right, should be retained.


The officer argued that the demolition of the existing façade and the replacement elevation, which is objected to by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, would have an adverse impact on the historic fabric of the site.

The proposed development has seen Mr Swain, who lives in an adjacent farmhouse which is at least 200 years old, file an emergency application to schedule his property.

The British novelist is mostly known for his sea stories, particularly The Cruel Sea.

His former residence is the last in a series of dwellings lining Triq il-Wileġ to the west of the Gozitan village.


Nicholas Monserrat's classic.Nicholas Monserrat’s classic.


The buildings on this street, which stretch from the end of the village to the San Lawrenz parish church, are one or two storeys high at most, Mr Swain told Times of Malta.

The development would not only ruin this uniformity, but also completely hide from view the iconic church to anyone driving into the village from Għarb, he added.

“Any increase in height and volumes as may be approved is to be in keeping with planning policies for the area, also taking into consideration the existing context,” the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage said in its representation.

The development as proposed “will negatively affect the UCA (Urban Conservation Area) and the existing streetscape”, it said, adding that the existing façade should be retained.