Miriam Dalli pulls plug on Romeo Romano restaurant

The Environment Minister said that the abandoned building will still be restored, but will not be used as a restaurant

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Energy Minister Miriam Dalli (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Environment minister Miriam Dalli has pulled the plug on a WasteServ proposal to build a restaurant in Santa Venera’s Romeo Romano garden.

In a comment to the press, Dalli said that the abandoned building that would have housed the restaurant will still be restored, but would not be used as an eatery.

Wasteserv filed the planning application last February to change the use of an old building in the gardens into a fully blow restaurant with an open-air terrace.

Wasteserv falls under the remit of the environment ministry, which at the time of the application was under the remit of Aaron Farrugia. 

Through the application, Wasteserv planned to restore the 371sq.m building and water cistern, but would also introduce a new commercial activity in an otherwise tranquil retreat amid a highly urbanised context.

Over 600 objections were filed against the development, with many warning against the commercialisation of the garden.

One of the objections presented the History of Art and Fine Arts Students’ Association said that the development completely disregards a local example comparable to Baroque gardens of the same period in Italy.

“Nowhere in Italy do you see Baroque gardens being turned into restaurants with a garden,” the association said.

Moviment Graffitti also objected to the development, insisting that “not every garden needs to be turned into a commercial enterprise”. Nationalist MP Darren Carabott also filed a detailed submission objecting to the restaurant.

The walled Romeo Romano Gardens form part of the Casa Leoni garden complex. The villa was built prior to 1724 as a summer residence for Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena, and now serves as an important surviving example of local Baroque architecture.

READ ALSO627 objections to Wasteserv’s restaurant in Romeo Romano garden

Hamrun gets new rooftop garden

A space previously used as a car park was roofed over and a garden installed on top, providing a green lung in Hamrun
A space previously used as a car park was roofed over and a garden installed on top, providing a green lung in Hamrun

Miriam Dalli was speaking to reporters after inaugurating a new rooftop public garden in Hamrun. The garden was built over an open space that previously served as a car park. None of the parking places were lost and the garden is accessible by lift and stairs.

“This is another project that is offering an open green space, which will help to improve the quality of life of residents. Trees, shrubs and plants have been planted and benches installed for the comfort of residents, a step away from their homes. We are working to have more open spaces in the heart of our communities,” Dalli said.

Funded by the National Development and Social Fund (NDSF), the project was led by GreenServ. As in other projects, GreenServ made use of sustainable material such as fully recycled aluminum  and wood coming from sustainable forests for the benches. Solar panels were installed on structures for shade, for electricity generation to light up the garden and power the USB charging points.

A water resevoir was refurbished for use in the garden.