Authority ordered to issue Senglea extension

An application for structural alterations together with a roof extension on a property in Triq is-Sirena, Senglea, was refused by the Environment and Planning Commission

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Robert Musumeci
26 August 2016, 12:30pm
An application for structural alterations together with a roof extension on a property in Triq is-Sirena, Senglea, was refused by the Environment and Planning Commission on a number of counts. In essence, the reasons for refusal centred around the alleged visual impact. In fact, the Commission held that the proposed development runs counter to Policy UO 2.4 of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development in that it would adversely affect the setting of the Urban Conservation Area and detract from the traditional urban skyline.

Moreover, it was opined that the proposed development would detract from the overall objectives of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development to improve the townscape and environment in historic cores and their setting. Reference was also made to Policy UO 2.1a and Policy TO 8.7 of the Strategic Plan, which seek to ensure that any new development in Urban Conservation Areas is compatible with the existing character and urban design of the area.

Finally, the Commission maintained that the proposal is not sympathetic with the adjoining buildings in terms of its fenestration, as a result of which, the design would jeopardise the visual integrity of the area.

Following the Commission’s decision, the applicant filed an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, insisting that the conclusions reached by the Commission were a matter of ‘subjective opinion’. The applicant contended that his intentions were ‘to convert an existing vacant dwelling unit into a contemporary habitable dwelling’.

He further contended that the final design product would be tantamount to the regeneration of Cottonera once the existing bronze aluminium apertures on the facade are replaced with traditional painted timber apertures and ‘the existing unsightly additions to the original structure’ are removed.

Moreover, the applicant deemed it fit to point out that the Cultural Heritage Panel, who were consulted during the process, had found that his proposal ‘does not negatively impact the existing sky line.’ Concluding, the appellant highlighted that the proposed roof structures would not be visible from the adjoining street, considering that ‘the area is characterised by evident change in levels.’

In reply, the Authority reiterated that the proposed building envelope would not safeguard the architectural character of the building, thus resulting in a negative impact on long distance views. The Tribunal was reminded that the premises are located ‘at the highest part of the Senglea peninsula opposite Fort St Angelo’, whilst keeping in mind that Senglea is scheduled as an Area of High Landscape Value as per G.N. 133 of 2001.

In its assessment, the Tribunal observed that the Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee found no objection to the appellant’s proposal. Moreover, it was noted that the roof extension would as a matter of fact ‘seal’ a blank party wall. The Tribunal concluded that the proposal would indeed result in the ‘regeneration’ of an otherwise abandoned building. Against this background, the authority was ordered to issue the permit on condition that no roof projections are constructed beyond the receded building line.

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Dr Musumeci is a warranted perit and holds a Degree in Law

robert_musumeci
Dr Robert Musumeci is a warranted advocate and a perit. He also holds a Masters Degree in ...