The Malta Independent 15 August 2022, Monday

Plan to put monti stalls between Parliament and Teatru Rjal still stands

Neil Camilleri Tuesday, 3 February 2015, 07:55 Last update: about 9 years ago

The plan to place monti stalls in the stretch of road between the new Parliament building and the renovated Teatru Rjal still stands, a government spokesman has confirmed.

The news contradicts the perception that the government had changed tack and would only place the much criticized new market stalls only on the opposite part of Ordnance Street.

On Sunday, Economy Minister Chris Cardona said that, “if it was physically possible to place all stalls in Ordnance Street he would do so to avoid any stalls spreading out.” The Minister’s comments were understood by some to mean that the stalls would only be placed in the southern part of Ordnance Street, next to Palazzo Ferreria. Ordnance Street stretches from the St John Cavalier near Hastings Garden to St James Cavalier, near the Parliament and theatre, intersecting through Republic Street.

A spokesperson for the Economy Ministry told The Malta Independent that Dr Cardona meant that, if possible, the stalls would not spill over into Republic Street. As such, the plan for the stalls to be placed on both sides of Ordnance Street, including on the side running between Parliament and Teatru Rjal, still stands.

More negative criticism

In the meantime, the proposed relocation kept drawing negative criticism from various organisations. Paul Fenech, the President of the Republic Street Business Community Association said all 75 stalls should be placed in the Palazzo Ferreria side of Ordnance Street. The plan, he said, was for the line of stalls to start in front of the Ordnance Pub. However he said the line can start further back, allowing all the stalls to fit in that stretch of road.  “There is no choice really, if we want to preserve the prestige and the money spent on the Piano projects.”

Mr Fenech said the stalls should not spill over into Republic Street because putting an open-air market next to quality shops and the site of a proposed boutique hotel did not make sense. It also did not make sense to put two rows of stalls in between Parliament and TeatruRjal. He said the monti was not well placed in Merchants Street. The association, he said, had proposed placing the market on the road running along Hastings Garden where it would bother no one and bring business to the area.

No consultation

The Chairman of the Valletta Rehabilitation Committee, Kenneth Zammit Tabona, also disagreed that the monti should spill over into Republic Street and next to the new Parliament. “The market should start halfway down the Palazzo Ferreria side of Ordnance Street. With the current plan one would have to go through a monti obstacle course to head down Republic Street.” Mr ZammitTabona, however, also agreed on the need to move the market out of Merchants Street, which he described as being the “prettiest street in Valletta.”

Mr Zammit Tabona said the Valletta Regeneration Committee was never consulted on the monti relocation but said the project falls under the remit of the Economy Ministry while the committee falls under the remit of Joe Mizzi’s Transport Ministry. “They pushed on without consulting anyone and now, because of the public outcry, they seem to be rethinking their plans. I hope that next time they decide to do something in Valletta they consult us.”


Valletta Mayor AlexieiDingli said the Council was still not consulted on the project, not even after Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the stalls would be redesigned. 

A striking entrance will be ‘ruined’

The President of European Walled Towns, Joseph Spiteri, also joined in the fray yesterday and said he was disappointed with the monti reloacation plans. “As President of the European Walled Towns, and more so as a Maltese citizen who hails from the Capital City of Valletta, I cannot but express my great sadness and disappointment about the decision to relocate the Valletta market to Ordnance Street, spilling over next to the modern Parliament building and the renovated former Royal Opera House just at the elegant entrance of Valletta, designed by the world renowned architect Renzo Piano.”

Mr Spiteri said “a striking entrance to a historic City, a World Heritage site, a City which will be the European Capital of Culture in 2018 will be ruined by this move and the shabby-looking market stalls. This will be an insult to our history,culture, and National pride and to all those who have our Capital City at their heart.”

Location more than stalls is moving us away from quality – MHRA

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association also joined in: “Regrettably the decision to relocate the Monti at the new and elegant entrance of Valletta risks diverting our efforts from the attainment of the quality vision.   MHRA stresses that it is the plan to place the market at the main entrance of the Capital City, next to two important landmarks, and not just the design of the stalls which is taking us away from our quality vision.

MHRA is therefore asking Government to reconsider this decision and pursue further the vision that quality is set as the hallmark of our product without exception.  Government must remain focused on Malta becoming a centre of excellence and locating the Monti at the entrance to our Word Heritage city does not take us closer to achieving this vision.”



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