Fate of Zammittello gardens in Pietà in Planning Authority board’s hands

PA board today meets to decide whether to approve 10-storey hotel on Pietà seafront

The Planning Authority’s board is to decide today on the fate of the views of Giardino Zammittello.

A project proposed by Landgate Limited for a 10-storey hotel in Pietà adjacent to Giardino Zammitello will visually dominate views of the harbour town from Msida creek and Valletta, challenging the visual dominance of St Luke’s Hospital and blocking views from the nearby Villa Frére gardens.

The project was revised following an outcry against the destruction of the historical Zammitello garden, and consists of the demolition of the existing buildings, the excavation and construction of a four-star hotel, including pools and spa.

The landscaped gardens, including the existing tower, domed exedra and main parts of the elevated walkway, will be retained and restored. But one of the gardens will still be obliterated to make way for the excavation of the car park while another elongated garden behind the domed exedra will also be destroyed.

The project was recommended for refusal by the Planning Authority’s case officer but on 3 December, the PA’s planning commission, chaired by Simon Saliba, decided to postpone a decision, which will be taken after a site inspection by the board.

The approval was later delegated to the PA’s Planning Board, which takes decisions on major projects.

The development is being proposed in the immediate vicinity of the scheduled Villa Frére and gardens. The Zammitello gardens are being proposed for scheduling by the Superintendence and the cultural heritage advisory committee.

The heritage NGO Friends of Villa Frére insist that the proposed building height will still grossly overpower Villa Frére, all but blocking the last vistas from the villa’s two main belvederes.

More in Townscapes