Democtratic Party urges public to object to ‘complete destruction’ of Zammitello gardens

The PD also called on the police to investigate a leaked email which ‘implies that the Prime Minister bypassed the planning process to promise the development of the site’

The PD is urging the public to
The PD is urging the public to

The Democratic Party has called on the public to object to the “complete destruction of the iconic Giardino Zamittello”.  

Last week, developers presented plans for a nine-storey high four-star hotel along the Pieta’ seafront on a property which includes the 200-year-old Zamittello gardens.

“Partit Demokratiku will be objecting to PA00698/19, for which Objections have just opened today, and invites the public to do the same,” the PD said in a statement.

The party said it also took note of leaked emails, published yesterday by the Shift News, which “imply that the Prime Minister bypassed the planning process to promise the development of the site”. PD said it expects the police to take note and investigate.

The late 18th century garden once belonged to Giuseppe Nicola Zammit, a man of letters and a judge who served in official posts under the Order of St John and the British. Knighted in 1818, he was appointed in various prominent positions by governor Thomas Maitland.

In the application includes an existing tower, a domed exedra and the main parts of the elevated walkway located in the Villa Ciantar garden, will be “retained and restored”. But plans foresee the excavation of a substantial part of the garden to make way for a spa and gym and an overlying external pool area. The project also includes an underground multi-level carpark, a cafeteria and restaurant, a business centre, a spa and a gym.

"At a time when guardianship legislation has been rolled out to encourage agreements between NGOs and government, this development would run completely contrary to the direction otherwise being encouraged,” MEP candidate Martin Cauchi Inglott said. 

“It would not only ruin the work of volunteers but also destroy priceless heritage in the process. I convey my full support to the Friends of Villa Frere, who describe the adjacent properties as Yin and Yang. The destiny of one affects the other."

PD deputy leader Timothy Alden pointed out that the application follows a similar threat to Villa Gauci and the Orange Grove in the vicinity.

“If any of these applications go through, they will spoil Pieta and Gwardamangia,” Alden said. “Instead, PD proposes that the government step in and buy these gardens to create new parks and public spaces, which will increase the inherent value of surrounding heritage properties.”

Alden said that an investor promising to restore and positively transform Casa Gwardamangia is already threatening to pull out due to the threat to the area.

Finanlly, PD MEP candidate Anthony Buttigieg said that the party supports an alternative planning approach which “promotes an economy recognising and building on Malta’s heritage, culture and identity”.

“They are unique competitive resource which we cannot get back once they are lost,” Buttigieg said. “Destroying one site affects all adjacent ones and we must look at the big picture.”

Buttigieg said this was the reason the PD had presented a private members motion for a national masterplan back in August 2017.

“We remind the Nationalist Party and Government that this motion is still on the shelf in parliament.”  

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