Villa Degiorgio in Sliema saved from demolition

The Planning Authority has refused an application to demolish and rebuild the iconic Villa Degiorgio at the top of Dingli Street in Sliema

Villa Degiorgio has been saved from demolition
Villa Degiorgio has been saved from demolition

Villa Degiorgio in Sliema’s old centre will continue to stand after the Planning Authority refused an application to have it demolished and rebuilt.

The decision was taken on Friday morning by the authority’s planning commission.

The proposal would have seen a new building four floors higher than the existing villa, consisting of two basement levels, three full floors and three receded floors. The case officer described the development as unacceptable.

In a sign of strong opposition to the application the Planning Authority had received a staggering 2,372 objections by residents including the Sliema council.

The site lies in a very prominent intersection between High Street and Dingli Street in the area known as Tliet Siġriet. This is considered to be the hub of Sliema’s old village core and still has a stretch of two-floor townhouses.

According to the case officer, Villa Degiorgio has “outstanding architectural characteristics” and forms part of a well-preserved row of traditional buildings most of which can be considered to date back to the mid-twentieth century.

The local plan designates the height limitation for the area as three floors plus one receded floor.

According to the case officer the creation of two receded floors would have further increased the massing of the building and its impact on the streetscape and thus the application was considered to run counter to design guidelines.

“This would also serve as a precedent to create additional receded floors on the abutting buildings along the streetscape,” the report warned.

Two applications for Villa Degiorgio had been refused before 2013, while another application was only approved by the PA’s review tribunal in 2014 after being substantially scaled down and limited to the addition of one storey and the building depth of the existing building.

The PA had consistently opposed the demolition of the building’s facade but has refrained from scheduling the building as has been the case with 25 Sliema properties scheduled in December 2017.

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