Lido cinema in Birzebbuga set for demolition

Fate of the artdeco building to be decided by the Planning Commission on Friday

Lido Cinema in Birzebbugia
Lido Cinema in Birzebbugia

The Planning Directorate has issued a report recommending the approval of 20 new apartments; a maisonette, 2 offices and 11 garages instead of the abandoned cinema after the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage noted the “advanced state of deterioration of the property.”

The original Lido cinema (Photo: Bay retro)
The original Lido cinema (Photo: Bay retro)

The property in question was constructed in 1946 and served as a very popular cinema. The building was constructed in the artdeco style, a prominent style commonly used for large civil buildings in the post war period. The Birzebbuga cinema has been abandoned for at least the past decade.

The latest plans submitted by the developer include the retention of a part of the old facade in the corner of the site after the Superintendence had called for the retention to retain some of the architectural features on the facade and to integrate them in the new design.

The plan for the new apartments
The plan for the new apartments

The apartments were already on sale on Maltapark.com since November. But according to the developer the apartments were being sold on condition that a permit is issued by the Planning Authority. Any loans issued by the banks were also conditional on a building permit.

Din l-Art Helwa had objected to the demolition of the entire building and has called for the retention of the facade. Ruben Abela, a former chief executive of the Malta Environment and Resources Authority described any eventual approval of the development as “a loss for our modern architectural heritage.”

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