Heritage Malta tries to stop demolition of St Elmo wall

The government body wants a permit to demolish a boundary wall separating Fort St Elmo from a cafeteria to be revoked

Fort St Elmo
Fort St Elmo

Heritage Malta wants the revocation of a permit to demolish a boundary wall separating Fort St Elmo from an adjacent cafeteria that wants to make way for more chairs and tables.

In its appeal to the Planning Authority’s review tribunal, Heritage Malta expressed concern that this development “will lower cultural standards” as the St Elmo entrance will be transformed into a cafeteria with chairs, tables and umbrellas to cater for the interests of a private business.

The government body which administers the fortifications, complained that it was not even informed of the cafeteria’s application and could not object to it.

The wall, which will be demolished, separates the cafeteria from the square, which serves as the entrance for visitors to the cultural monument. Heritage Malta argues that the wall was built with EU funds in a restoration project completed in 2015.

“The applicant wants to demolish a wall that had been reconstructed by Heritage Malta through EU funds and is even expecting to make use of the square which had been paved thanks to the same funds and now administrated by Heritage Malta.”

The permit to remove the wall dividing the open space outside Fort St Elmo entrance and The Malta Experience Café, whilst extending the outdoor dining and seating area, was approved in July.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage had approved the proposed works since the works were not deemed to have any negative impact on the cultural heritage.

The case officer’s report claims the proposed works are in line with the development brief for St Elmo, which encourages the restoration and rehabilitation of the fort in order to attract tourists and local visitors to the southern end of Valletta. The case officer also noted that the walls earmarked for demolition have no historical significance.

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