Previous government wanted Main Guard for Valletta local council

Jason Azzopardi says that the previous administration wanted to transfer the Valletta local council premises to the Main Guard and the Attorney General's offices to the former HSBC building in Republic Street

The previous administration had formulated plans to transfer the Valletta local council from its premises in South Street to the Main Guard in St. George’s Square, shadow justice minister Jason Azzopardi revealed.

“Local councils of capital cities are often cited in historic buildings, and we wanted the Valletta local council to move to the Main Guard before its coronation as Europe’s capital of culture in 2018,” Azzopardi said during a parliamentary debate on the reform of the local enforcement system.

The Main Guard currently partially houses the Attorney General’s offices.

Azzopardi, former lands minister, said that the government had acquired the former HSBC building with the intention of using it as premises for the Attorney General, who requires offices close to the Law Courts, as well as a number of Commissions currently housed in the President’s Palace. That would therefore have freed up space for the Valletta local council to move into the Main Guard. Indeed, the plans were at such an advanced stage that the government leased out the Main Guard to the Valletta local council at an annual rate of €5,600, with the council paying the rent two years in advance and funding restoration works at the Main Guard.  

Instead, the current government used the former HSBC building to house the Ministry for Tourism and in April last year, officially terminated its lease with the Valletta local council for the Main Guard.

Earlier, justice minister Owen Bonnici said that he had offered to house the Valletta local council near Fort St. Elmo, but that its mayor Alexei Dingli had turned the offer down as he wanted the council to be sited in a central area of the city.

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