NGOs call for stop to DB Group works over 'undeclared' Cold War bunker

A group of NGOs is questioning how the site was overlook in the planning process are requesting the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage to issue an Emergency Conservation Order

The NGOs are calling on local authorities to issue an Emergency Conservation Order
The NGOs are calling on local authorities to issue an Emergency Conservation Order

A group of NGOs are calling on the Superintendent for Public Health to issue an Emergency Conservation Order on what they are claiming is a previously undeclared Cold War facility underneath St George’s Barracks.

In a statement on Saturday, the NGOs noted how following the Planning Authority’s approval of the DB Group project in St George’s Bay last year, three local councils and several NGOs and residents had come to together to appeal the decision.

“Now, plans and evidence have come to light showing the existence of an underground Cold War bunker created to house a sub-station in the 1950s, and an engine room dating from the 1930s,” the NGOs said.

They said the features were of “considerable significance from an industrial heritage as well as military point of view”.

Despite this, the NGOs said, there was no mention of them in the heritage assessment reports commissioned by the developer.

They said that the both features, along with the earliest example of British period barrack blocks in Malta would be “totally obliterated” were the project to be allowed to go ahead.

The NGOs questioned how it is possible for a Cold War bunker and other heritage features to have been “completely overlooking” during the planning application process, which they said was supposed to be thorough and extensive.

"We cannot understand how such features have failed to show up on any of the studies presented to the public and supposedly scrutinised by the Planning Authority. It shows that the public has no one to turn to for effective assessment of applications. This smacks of a shoddy and negligent approach where all is fast-tracked and heritage is ignored so that it can more easily be destroyed. We are requesting the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage to issue an Emergency Conservation Order on the heritage features on site and to carry out a proper assessment to save what can still be saved," the NGOs said.

The statement was endorsed by the following organisations: 

Din l-Art Ħelwa, Ramblers' Association of Malta, BirdLife Malta, Friends of the Earth Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Bicycle Advocacy Group and Żminijietna – Voice of the Left

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