Lija’s villa area faces three-storey apartment block rezoning

A characteristic villa area in Lija could be rezoned to permit 13.5-metre high apartments

Residents fear that the rezoning of this large site could pave the way to the rezoning of other properties
Residents fear that the rezoning of this large site could pave the way to the rezoning of other properties

A characteristic villa area in Lija could be rezoned to permit 13.5-metre high apartments, if a recently presented ‘zoning’ application is approved on a 2,000 square metre site.

A characteristic villa and its gardens facing a public garden along Triq Giovanni Barbara in Lija currently occupy the 2,000 sq.m site, now earmarked for apartments.  

The site is currently designated by the local plan as a residential priority area, where only low-rise villas are normally allowed and where building heights are limited to a maximum of two floors and a semi-basement.

Presently apartment blocks are not allowed in the whole row of villas along Transfiguration Avenue
Presently apartment blocks are not allowed in the whole row of villas along Transfiguration Avenue

But a zoning application by the site owner is proposing a change in planning rules to permit “terraced and flatted development” rising to 13.5m, which is the equivalent of  three floors and a semi-basement, as is the case on the opposite side of Triq Pawlu Galea – but not the case with all other properties along Triq Giovanni Barbara.  

Residents fear that the rezoning of this large site could pave the way to the rezoning of other properties, which are even closer to Vjal it-Trasfigurazzjoni where the historical Belvedere is located.

Presently apartment blocks are not allowed in the whole row of villas along Transfiguration Avenue from the junction to Naxxar Road and the to the Belvedere, including those along Triq Giovanni Barbara.  

The local plan itself has bizarrely omitted a row of houses located between the Belvedere and the church from the villa zone, an omission which was only rectified in 2009 through the issue of an emergency conservation order to protect views to the Belvedere, after protests from the local council.

More in Townscapes