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PRESS RELEASE: Appreciation vs. Destruction


Wirt iż-Żejtun accepts with satisfaction and thanks the Planning Authority, for selecting Żejtun for the organisation of eight informative historical and architectural walks in the coming months. As stated by the Authority itself, Żejtun was chosen for its architectural elegance and cultural heritage.

Through these walks in the urban core of the city, those in attendance will be able to better appreciate the history and architectural diversity that is found in this old city in the heart of the South of Malta. The first walk took place on Sunday 20th October, with subsequent walks scheduled once a month, until May of next year. Wirt iż-Żejtun encourages everyone note to miss out on this opportunity and for those interested to reserve their spot by sending an email to tours@pa.org.mt. The Planning Authority has advised that income from these walks is in aid of the Marigold Foundation.

However, Wirt iż-Żejtun sadly notes that whilst various initiatives to raise awareness and appreciation of architectural and cultural heritage of Żejtun are being held, there still remain developers that have not yet reached this level of awareness and appreciation. Ironically, in the same week that these walks were commenced by the Planning Authority, the general public was informed of two applications that were filed within the same Authority for the destruction of a historical villa and garden, built by the Bonici family and dating back to the end of the 18th century, and which site is also located within the Urban Conservation Area of Żejtun. By virtue of application PA7855/19, the developer is requesting to remove the villa and garden from the confines of the Urban Conservation Area and for the garden to no longer be protected as an open space as established in the Local Plans. In addition, a request for the increase in authorised building height in the surroundings of the same site has also been made. The other application is PC45/19, by virtue of which a request has been made for the existing passage that separate the villa from the garden opposite to be moved and converted into a road that passes through the middle of the garden.

Whilst being cognizant of the fact that during the past years this garden was used as a farm for livestock, as is unfortunately still common to find fortresses and parts of bastions used for the same purpose in our country, this does not justify the destruction of such a site, which still retains architectural elements that are very well preserved, as exhibited in the photos attached.

As a result, Wirt iż-Żejtun is encouraging the general public to join it and file formal objections to these two applications and demands the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage and the Planning Authority to immediately schedule the villa and its garden in order to ensure that these are legally and literally protected. Additionally, to oblige developers to restore them whilst ensuring that the potential development is one that respects the architectural and historical value of this heritage.

     

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