Cruise terminal design will obscure Valletta bastions

Innovative design for three-storey Valletta Cruise Port block strongly objected to by heritage watchdog

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has warned that a proposed three-storey office block will negatively impact on views of the Valletta fortifications and the adjacent Pinto Stores, and is insisting that the area should remain an open space.

“The proposed development will have an unacceptable impact on the surrounding environments and on the values of the scheduled historical properties,” the SCH said in its reaction to an application presented by Valletta Cruise Port plc.

Valletta Cruise Port is partly owned by Angelo Xuereb’s AX Port Holding Ltd as well as Turkish investors.

The development is proposed in a style reminiscent of Renzo Piano’s parliament building, and would occupy 507sq.m of land which forms part of the existing road and surface car park.

As proposed, the building will be slightly lower than the other historical buildings on the waterfront but will obscure views of the bastions from the waterfront itself, as confirmed by photomontages submitted by the developer.

The PA’s design panel asked the developer to present new photomontages showing the project as viewed from across the Grand Harbour, taken from points from which the building will be visible such as from the Gardjola garden at Isla.

A previous application for the construction of new four-storey office building, submitted in 2017, was withdrawn.