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The site in Victoria and the farmhouse (below) that would be demolished. Photos: Daniel Cilia

Fight to preserve Victoria green lung

Victoria residents and heritage NGOs are putting up a fight against a planning application for a road which they fear would pave the way for apartment blocks to be built on one of the few remaining green spaces in town.

The 10,000 square metre site close to the Downtown Hotel, and opposite the new aquatic sports centre, is within the development zone where three floors are allowed.

 

 

The developer, Joe Cordina, is seeking to establish the road layout of the parcel of land on the west side of Wied ta’ Karawendi. The site boundary abuts Triq L-Ewropa and Triq Il-Belliegħa.

Residents and NGOs Din l-Art Ħelwa and Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar are among those which have objected to the development application.

They say the new road would provide more street frontage and open previously protected land to construction.

Increasing the development potential of the site would be detrimental to the community since it would eliminate all existing green open space and create a crippling increase in development density, they argue.

The Victoria council came out strongly against the development since it would involve the demolition of vernacular structures, including a historic farmhouse deeply characteristic of the area known as Tal-Belliegħa.

The farmhouse also has a niche in the façade dedicated to St Joseph.

Victoria Mayor Josef Schembri noted that the council’s 2021 position would have to be revisited, taking into consideration any changes that might have been made since them.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage strongly objected to the demolition of the historic farmhouse, which forms part of a significant cluster of vernacular buildings “that should be retained to preserve the contextual cultural heritage value of the area”.

It said approval of the application as proposed would prejudice the survival of the remaining vernacular buildings.

It wants the entire area to be archaeologically evaluated to determine its cultural value.

The land is subdivided into 10 ownership parcels. The owners of seven of them are co-applicants.

The site has a history of withdrawn applications.

A 2001 application proposing a public square, street, terraced house, entertainment centre and youth hostel was refused while two applications submitted five years later to construct apartments were withdrawn, as was a 2007 application for a proposed residential development.

Article Source: Times of Malta