The Malta Independent 27 May 2019, Monday

33 property sites to be renovated for social purposes

Jeremy Micallef Monday, 13 May 2019, 13:10 Last update: about 14 days ago

Thirty-three housing sites around the island are to be renovated for a number of social purposes, Minister for Capital Projects Ian Borg said.

The 33 sites were transferred over from the Lands Authority to the Housing Authority to allow for these renovations to take place, and examine what the best use for these units may be.

Speaking in front of one of the housing sites in Birgu, Borg said that are various aspects to this initiative – the social, the regeneration, and the people.

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“When one speaks about regeneration, we learn that if there are no people living there, then you cannot call it complete regeneration.”

He noted that between 2017 and 2018, the Lands Authority transferred 516 properties, including 2,500m2 of land in Msida to be developed.

These units will be made available for purposes social housing, and, amongst other things, the announced specialized housing schemes available for NGOs.

Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Property Market Chris Agius added that the work between the two authorities will not stop here, and that a lot of work is being done so that a backlog of properties that are stuck in various bureaucracies will finally be resolved.

“The synergy that exists, not only between ministries, but also between authorities is happening so that we can create new schemes, new opportunities, and solve many difficulties that have been going on for years.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Social Accommodation Roderick Galdes maintained that history is being written.

“The properties that came from the Church, through a deal signed by the Government in the 1980s, will be used.”

Galdes said that the Government is committed to giving a push to the housing sector, and that now is the opportune moment to work on properties such as the aforementioned 33, noting a measure in the past budget making available €4 million for the rehabilitation of old buildings and communities.

“As a country, it is embarrassing that we have left properties such as this one abandoned for years.”

Initial surveys show that 11 units will be created from the four of the surveyed properties, without exceeding the height limit or destroying the historical aspect of the building.

He explained that work has already started on first four of the buildings, and the second batch will start in the coming months.

“The more we maximise units such as these, the more we strengthen units that we need for the scope of housing.”

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