Permit issued after Superintendence of Cultural Heritage withdraws concerns

The Tribunal noted that appellant had indeed secured a conditional no objection from the Superintendent during the pendency of appeal proceedings. Against this background, the Tribunal ordered the Authority to issue permission

At issue was a development proposal to demolish an old townhouse and replace it with a groundfloor shop and overlying dwellings.

The site was located across Pretty Bay in B’Bugia. Once the Planning Commission saw that the building qualified as a Grade 2 Scheduled Building, it decided to refuse permission on the following basis:

  1. The proposed demolition and modifications to the existing Grade 2 scheduled building ‘visually altered’ the existing streetscape resulting in the loss of historical value;
  2. The proposed development was therefore not in the interest of the character of the area, hence in defiance of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development;
  3. The Superintendent of Cultural Heritage was objecting to the proposal.

In turn, applicant lodged an appeal before the Environment and Planning Review Tribunal, insisting that he should have been granted permission. In his appeal application, applicant (now, appellant) acknowledged that the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage had objected to the proposal.

Nevertheless, applicant pointed out that he had submitted new plans ‘retaining the façade’ which the Commission had not referred to the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage for reassessment.

During the pendency of the appeal proceedings, applicant explained that he himself, had sought endorsement from the Superintendence, further to which the latter had signaled his no objection to the demolition of the internal walls and roofs subject to a number of conditions.

Moreover, appellant pointed out that his site was sandwiched between two buildings of relatively recent origin, insisting that his proposal only sought ‘to harmonise with the adjacent contemporary buildings’.

In reply, the Authority reiterated its argument that ‘the building in consideration was scheduled as a Grade 2 historical building’.

It was recalled that the Superintendent had stressed about the importance of preserving the visual integrity of the area.

The Directorate also acknowledged that applicant was doing away with the demolition of the façade, however the proposal was still considered unacceptable from a heritage point of view.

In its assessment, the Tribunal observed that although the Commission had issued a refusal, it had directed applicant ‘to submit fresh drawings to retain the street elevation and to obtain clearance from the Superintendent’.

Meanwhile, the Tribunal noted that appellant had indeed secured a conditional no objection from the Superintendent during the pendency of appeal proceedings.

Against this background, the Tribunal ordered the Authority to issue permission.

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