Prime Minister’s wife applies for eight-room guest house in Xewkija

Lydia Abela had already presented another application envisaging the construction of a gym and pool at basement level, but this was later withdrawn

Prime Minister Robert Abela's wife Lydia Abela (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Prime Minister Robert Abela's wife Lydia Abela (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

Lydia Abela, wife of the Prime Minister, has applied to convert an already constructed residential farmhouse in Xewkija into a guest house.

The proposal consists of eight rooms, a lounge, a reception breakfast area, wine cellar and a pool with an outdoor area.

The application which does not envisage any further take up of land, foresees an extension at first-floor level and internal alterations to walls and apertures as well as a landscaping scheme.

The Malta Tourism Authority has approved the proposal and has issued a tourism policy compliance certificate which will enable the applicant to proceed with the planning application. But the MTA has made it clear that this is not an operating licence, which can only be obtained after the permit is issued.

The residential farmhouse in Xewkija
The residential farmhouse in Xewkija

In January, Abela had presented another application for the excavation and construction of a pool and gym in the basement level as well as for internal alterations and an extension of the first floor.

A document submitted by architect Joe Cassar in May had already hinted at the future use of the building as a “guest house” in the project title when submitting plans. Earlier plans had referred to “residential development.”  The application which had already been granted the clearance of the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage was later withdrawn.

In 2021 the PA had approved an application for the restoration of the façade and the replacement of existing doors and window to ones constructed in solid natural timber, including double glazing .

An application by Abela to construct a pool in the backyard had been approved in 2012 and was subsequently renewed in 2017.

The property located in the urban conservation area of Xewkija consists of a  two storey vernacular farmhouse characterised by traditional features such as timber beams, double thickness walls, and arches.