[WATCH] Valletta ‘won’t be new Paceville’, minister says despite protests

Tourism minister defends Valletta council’s decision to allow music to be played till 1am. ‘Tourists expressed wish to enjoy drink after dinner...’

Valletta (File photo)
Valletta (File photo)

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has said Valletta “will not become another Paceville”, following residents’ complaints on a legal notice allowing establishments to play music outside until 1am.

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.

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.

The streets for which the new rules apply are: Merchant Street, Old Bakery Street, Old Theatre Street, Republic Street, South Street, St Lucy Street, Strait Street, Archbishop Street and Saint Ursula Street.

But the tourism minister insists that the decision was taken after a series of discussions.

“I understand the residents, I started my political career in the local council, and so one has to see the way forward,” he told journalists outside parliament on Monday.

He defended the legal notice, insisting a number of tourists have expressed their wish “to have a drink in Valletta” after they have had dinner in the capital.

“What it clear is that Valletta will not become another Paceville, or some entertainment mecca,” he said.

Late on Monday, two more streets were added to the list of roads in Valletta where bars and entertainment establishments can play music outdoors until 1am.

Valletta Residents Revival call on first district MPs to oppose legal notice

In a statement issued on Monday, group Valletta Residents Revival called on first district MPs - Keith Azzopardi Tanti, Deo Debattista, Aaron Farrugia, Cressida Galea, Davina Sammut Hili, Mario de Marco, Darren Carabott and Paula Mifsud Bonnici – to oppose the legal notice.

The group, which represents almost 600 residents, said they consider the legal notice “an affront not only to all us residents who for years have had to contend with the constant degradation of Valletta as a habitable city, but a slap in the face of all those who for long have been advocating for a unique approach towards making Valletta a superior entertainment venue in Malta.”

“This Legal Notice goes against any principle of liveability, good neighbourliness and even against the 'Night Noise Guidelines for Europe' as published by the World Health Organisation,” they said.

“We are also expecting the Local Council to come out in full force against this particular issue. We remind the Local Council that its role is to represent us residents and not government. The VRR Group therefore asks: on whose side is the Local Council going to be this time round?”