Floating restaurant will impact on Macina view

A floating restaurant that will be set in front of the historic Macina in Senglea, has gained reluctant endorsement

The proposed development lies within Senglea’s urban conservation area (UCA) and in an Area of High Landscape Value of the Harbour Fortifications
The proposed development lies within Senglea’s urban conservation area (UCA) and in an Area of High Landscape Value of the Harbour Fortifications

A floating restaurant that will be set in front of the historic Macina in Senglea, has gained the reluctant endorsement of both the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage and the Planning Authority’s DAC (design advisory committee).

The iconic Macina bastion is currently being restored and renovated, and will soon come back to life as an exclusive Cugó Gran hotel. And if approved, the floating restaurant will be connected to the new hotel by an aluminum bridge.

While noting that the floating restaurant in front of the Macina will have an impact on “this iconic view” due to the presence of a semi-permanent structure, the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has not shot down the proposal with an outright no.

Instead the SCH has recommended “a minimalist light structure” and the use of “appropriate materials and colour scheme” such as stone or natural wood colours, to further mitigate the visual presence of the structure. 

The SCH welcomed measures to minimise the impact on any surviving archaeological remains on the seabed, noting that the development will create a “semi permanent volume” in front of the Macina.

After requesting a series of photomontages, the Design Advisory Committee – which advises the authority on design issues – has also declared that it is “not averse to the proposal”.

The proposed development lies within Senglea’s urban conservation area (UCA) and in an Area of High Landscape Value of the Harbour Fortifications. These fortifications are scheduled by the Planning Authority at Grade 1 and are part of the UNESCO Tentative List for inscription as a World Heritage Site. 

Additionally the seabed within the Grand Harbour may contain archaeological deposits that might be disturbed or exposed by any anchorage system. 

The proposed floating restaurant will be anchored to the seabed by concrete sinker blocks, which are also reversible and may be removed should it be necessary to do so. 

Din l-Art Helwa has objected to the new structure, claiming that this will create clutter in front of the Grade 1 scheduled building when seen from Birgu. 

The applicant already has a permit for berthing yachts in front of the Macina, but the size of the approved pontoon is smaller than the proposed platform. 

DLH expressed its concern that the development will create a precedent for other seaside restaurants in the area wanting to extend their seating capacity.

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