The Malta Independent 23 October 2019, Wednesday

Proposed project would irreversibly distort a historical locality

Sunday, 7 July 2019, 09:13 Last update: about 5 months ago

On behalf of the Council and Members of the Grand Commandery of the Castello, a jurisdiction of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St Lazarus of Jerusalem established in the 11th century, we would like to publicly express our serious concerns regarding the proposed massive project in the historical centre of Mensija, San Ġwann, as recently reported in Times of Malta.

The Grand Commandery is the owner of the 17th century Torri ta’ Lanzun, also known as Castello Lanzun, situated in Sanctuary Street, Mensija. For centuries, our building served as a watch tower to protect the area from invaders, as from its roof, one had a direct line of vision as far as Valletta to one side and to Mdina in another direction. 

For the last 46 years, our Grand Commandery has taken great and loving care of this Grade 1 scheduled building. During these years, Castello Lanzun has served a social and communal purpose, as monthly activities are organised to raise much-needed funds for charities based in Malta, India, Ethiopia and Uganda. 

The site for this proposed development, which some are describing as monstrous, is barely 80 metres away from the Castello’s front gate. The proposed façade, rising up to five floors from the Mensija side, is clearly inappropriate, dwarfing not only our own Torri ta’ Lanzun, but another historic gem in San Ġwann, the unique Mensija Chapel built in the 1650s. One also has to consider that other nearby sites, of both archaeological and ecological importance, would also be negatively affected.

Our concerns also stem from the scale of the development and the impact it might have on the streetscape, including the oppressive visual effect of a vast blank side wall towering over this historical area, as well as the unprecedented traffic, noise and parking issues that will forever destroy the tranquillity and character of this cherished Mensija hamlet.

 

Chev Carmel Bonello

Commander

Grand Commandery of the Castello

Mensija

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