The Malta Independent 21 March 2023, Tuesday
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FAA welcomes EPRT decision on Palazzo Giannin in Ghaxaq

Friday, 3 February 2023, 07:50 Last update: about 3 months ago

Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar said it welcomed the Environment Planning Review Tribunal (appeals board) decision to uphold the refusal of an application to build 30 apartments in the garden of scheduled Palazzo Giannin in Ħal-Għaxaq.

Along with Villa Mekrech and Ġnien tal-Kmand, Palazzo Giannin is one of the three historical green enclaves of Ħal-Għaxaq. Palazzo Giannin itself is thought to have been a Knights’ period hunting lodge, embellished by Baroque architectural decorations and serving as a Ħal-Għaxaq landmark. Being over 250 years old, Palazzo Giannin’s garden contains ancient oaks, olive trees and Aleppo pines that reduce pollution in the area and are protected under the Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations and cannot be felled


Following pressure from Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Palazzo Giannin and Villa Mekrech along with their gardens were protected as Grade 2 Scheduled sites in 2013. All three gardens are marked as green enclaves and designated as 'Private Gardens Meriting Protection' safeguarded through the South Malta Local Plan. Alterations to scheduled buildings will only be allowed if proposed to be carried out sensitively and causing the least detriment to the character and architectural homogeneity of the property”

Three 5-storey stand-alone apartment blocks obliterating most of the garden can under no stretch of the imagination be deemed sensitive and appropriate to the character of a Baroque garden. Furthermore, the basement garage extending beyond the blocks’ footprint would have destroyed an undeclared ancient arched well and more trees. The 30-car parking shortfall would have further exacerbated the existing parking problem while the reduction of the soil area to less than less than 20% of its original size would have created major problems in this flood-prone area.

FAA also welcomed the refusal at appeal of the hotel to be built on Saqqajja hill, Rabat, just beneath Mdina’s bastions, and the withdrawal of the Planning Control application to build on a traffic island beneath Regional Road. FAA had campaigned against both cases and asserts that Malta has lost enough heritage and green areas, which must no longer be exploited for speculation at the cost of our identity, economy and quality of life.

Such victories serve to encourage the public that fighting abusive over-development is not a lost cause; together with the eNGOs, we can still save what is left of our heritage and green spaces, the NGO said.


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