Balluta’s landmark St Ignatius villa being dismantled by workers

No formal development application has been presented for the site, but residents said they were informed of imminent plans

Photo: Franco Vassallo/Facebook
Photo: Franco Vassallo/Facebook
Photo: Franco Vassallo/Facebook
Photo: Franco Vassallo/Facebook

Workers are dismantling parts of the landmark St Ignatius Villa in Balluta, despite no apparent formal planning application.

Din L-Art Ħelwa and Sliema residents have already appealed for the Balluta’s landmarks to be scheduled and protected under threat of development.

The heritage group requested that the Planning Authority legally protect the building known as Villa St Ignatius in Scicluna Street, St Julian’s, part of a larger property which once housed the first Jesuit College in Malta. The group has also asked for a conservation order to be issued.

The front of the old college is already scheduled, but no such protection has been extended to the villa, believed to be substantially older and already mentioned as a landmark building in an 1839 account of Malta.

No formal development application has been presented for the site, but residents said they were informed of imminent plans.

“Villa St Ignatius, or ‘Bel-Vedere’ [its original name], has architectural significance,” architect Edward Said Said wrote in a report commissioned by concerned residents to defend its architectural and historical significance.

“Despite the substantial alterations both to the building’s exterior and presumably also internally (not accessible at time of study), the overall fabric still survives as [original owner] John Watson and the Protestants after him would remember it. Of course, the context has changed dramatically, what with practically all of the grounds gone, together with the once idyllic pastoral landscape.”

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