Controversial Valletta 1am music rules energise new political group

Valletta residents have expressed concern over new rules that allow bars to play music outside until 1am as new political group takes battle to the local council

Residenti Beltin President Billy Mc Bee says the new music rules are an affront to residents
Residenti Beltin President Billy Mc Bee says the new music rules are an affront to residents

New regulations allowing bars, restaurants and entertainment spots in Valletta to continue playing music until 1am have angered residents and energised a new political group.

Residenti Beltin, a recently formed residents’ group that registered as a political organisation with the Electoral Commission, on Monday protested outside the Valletta local council offices against the music rules. The protest was attended by a handful of residents but social media has been inundated with criticism over the new rules.

Residents have lamented that they were ignored when government published the legal notice allowing music to be played outside at “moderate levels” until 1am. Prior to the legal notice, music could be played until 11pm.

Billy Mc Bee, president of Residenti Beltin, said the group intends contesting the local election in 2024 with the aim of safeguarding Valletta’s residents. He said the new music rules were the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

The Valletta council had nothing to do with the legal notice that came into force last week with councillors saying they were not consulted.

However, Mc Bee said this was not the first instance where residents got to know about plans and decisions that impacted them negatively before the council.

Valletta Mayor Alfred Zammit told sister newspaper Illum the council will be asking for the legal notice to be amended so that the 1am limit will only apply over the weekend and for only ‘soft music’ to be played.

“Soft music means background music that can only be heard by patrons, who are seated at a table,” Zammit said, adding the council will continue to insist this is clarified. He said the council will also insist that live bands will not be able to play after 11pm and the council will continue refusing permits for DJs to play in Valletta.

Residents fear that Valletta will turn into another Paceville with noise being an inconvenience for people who live above or in the vicinity of the entertainment outlets.

Over the past five years, Valletta has witnessed a revival in nightlife with a diverse offering of bars, music bars and restaurants. Some bar owners had been lamenting the 11pm cut-off time for external music.