The Malta Independent 20 November 2018, Tuesday

Floriana Residents angry about car park at ix-Xaghra

Malta Independent Thursday, 7 October 2010, 00:00 Last update: about 6 years ago

Floriana residents are angry about the government’s and Transport Malta’s plans to turn the grandstand steps at Independence Arena (known by all as Ix-Xaghra tal-Furjana) into a 200-space car park to alleviate Valletta’s parking problems – now made worse by the Piano project.

One has to go back in years to understand the acrimony. Under colonial rule, the grandstand simply did not exist. What existed was a steep incline which allowed the Xaghra to have two, not one, football pitches next to each other.

The area, which was also used for training by the British army in preparation for ceremonies like the Trooping of the Colour, used to attract many spectators.

Then, when the Independence celebrations were getting near, the grandstand was created to allow as many people as possible to attend.

In later years, the arena was used to house public buses and for many other purposes.

The last time it was used as a public arena was in the Millennium celebrations.

The Floriana residents who spoke to this paper say that with conversion to a 200-car park, there is no way that the arena can be returned to its original state. Both the Floriana local council and Floriana Football Club are understood to have objected to the TM application which is being processed by Mepa.

The football club is also understood to have proposed the excavation of a huge car park under the football ground, with the pitch on top, much as has been done at Midi’s Tigne Point.

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