Birkirkara MPs outraged over hotel proposal next to church

Hotel proposal envisages restoration of palazzo but also a new four-storey building on part of a palazzo garden overlooking Triq Mike Pulis across the street from Santa Liena Basilica

Photo montage of the proposed building next to the Basilica
Photo montage of the proposed building next to the Basilica

Birkirkara MPs Randolph De Battista, Justin Schembri, Edward Zammit Lewis and Adrian Delia, and MEP Cyrus Engerer are all objecting to the proposed hotel opposite the Santa Liena parish church.

Earlier in the week MaltaToday revealed the submission of an application for a four-storey hotel on part of a palazzo's garden overlooking Triq Mike Pulis across the street from the Basilica.

Engerer lodged an online petition, which has already been signed by over 1,200 people, appealing to the Planning Authority to reject the application.

The Labour MEP is also encouraging the government to, “start procuring the last remaning gardens in Malta's village cores and opening them up to the public.”

He also wrote on Facebook that he was “disgusted” by the “monstrosity” proposed and emphasised on the importance of a skyline and aesthetics policy.

The application envisages the restoration of the palazzo fronting Triq Santu Rokku and does not envisage any additional floors on top of it, but it also proposes a pool and an extension in part of the building’s back garden.

The new extension will overlook the parish church and the locality’s flea market which is set up every Wednesday and Friday.

CEO of the Labour Party and MP Randolph De Battista said that the Birkirkara residents will unite in favour of investment that made sense and to defend the historical heritage.

PN MP Justin Schembri said that there are “hundreds of thousands of reasons” to reject a hotel a few metres away from the Basilica.

“I expect that politics aside, Birkirkara residents and those that love Birkirkara, say no to this crazy idea. I, however, cannot not agree with the palace's restoration.”

Former PN leader Adrian Delia, also a product of Birkirkara, wrote an ironic post on Facebook asking whether the sacristy was going to be transformed into a bar as well.

Labour MP Edward Zammit Lewis said that for a good part of his life, he continuously walked past the building and that objects to the proposed project. He said he believes that such buildings of historical value should benefit from schemes to be used as residences.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Robert Abela was asked about the project, and although he did not refer to the case specifically told developers not to submit any “non-starter” applications that were not in conformity with the planning regulations.