Din l-Art Helwa objects to Floriana Ferris wheel it says will ruin Valletta skyline

The NGO said the 45-metre wheel would dwarf the Grade 1 scheduled St Publius Church and ‘mar the historic approaches to Valletta and Floriana’

Din l-Art Helwa has objected has filed an objection to a development permit application for a 45-metre Ferris wheel being proposed in Floriana, the NGO said in a statement.  

It said that the wheel “has been found totally unacceptable”, with an objection having been filed on the grounds that the structure would “mar the historic approaches to Valletta and Floriana, and create a serious visual intrusion on the skylines of Valletta from both the Three Cities and from Sliema”.

The Ferris wheel, described as an “observatory structure” in an application to the Planning Authority, is set to include 36 capsules which will each hold six persons. The base of the structure will be 30 metres long, with the wheel rising up to a height equivalent to an 11-storey building.

This would make the structure one of the highest in Valletta – 10 metres lower than the Barrakka lift. Other structures which rise higher than the proposed wheel are the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church (73m) and the St Paul’s Pro-Cathedral (63m).

READ MORE: Floriana Ferris wheel photos show views from proposed ‘Malta Eye’

Speaking to MaltaToday last year, the entrepreneur behind the project said the location had been selected because it “ticks all the boxes for a successful and iconic attraction”.

Din l-Art Helwa said the wheel would result in the complete “obliteration of the Floriana/Valletta boundary, since it rides astride the highest point between the two towns and will consume public open space to allow for a private commercial proposition”.  

“The sizeable structure will also dwarf St Publius Parish Church, a Grade 1 scheduled landmark building, the unique Grade 1 scheduled Granaries, and the Grade 1 Mall Gardens, which all lie close to the proposed observation wheel,” the NGO said.

Referring to the “Grand Harbour Local Plan policies which relate to Building Heights in Floriana”, the NGO said it was objecting on the grounds that “no development will be permitted which detracts from views of and from UCAs”. 

It said the objection also makes reference to the Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development (SPED) which requires that “no development within historic sites should be permitted unless it ensures that the historic site’s skyline is not adversely affected”. 

“The proposed application for a private business proposition intends to capitalise on the views of Valletta’s World Heritage walls and its harbours; it departs heavily from permitted policies, lacks sensitivity to the historic character of Valletta and Floriana, and should be dismissed,” Din l-Art Helwa said.

“Furthermore, this kind of entertainment structure, passing off as an observation point, will inevitably bring further clutter in the way of refreshment and catering areas, ticketing booths and visitor facilities. St Publius Square, its unique collection of historic silos, its adjacent parking zones and shaded spaces are public areas which should not be taken up to facilitate an individual business proposition, but should be left free and unencumbered.”

READ MORE: Could Floriana get its own ‘Malta Eye’? Entrepreneur seeks Ferris wheel permit

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