Developers have applauded the decision by Gozo and Planning Minister Clint Camilleri to introduce a policy requiring stone facades in new buildings in Gozo.
In a statement published on Sunday, the Malta Development Association (MDA) however called for flexibility in the policy to allow for other aesthetically pleasing materials to be used.
The MDA was referring to comments made by Camilleri who divulged information on the new policy in an interview with MaltaToday.
Camilleri said the policy will require new buildings to have a façade made out of stone, and the same rule will apply to the back of a building if this overlooks an ODZ area.
He said the policy aims to create buildings that are in tune with the traditional architectural characteristics of Gozitan villages, adding that the Planning Authority will issue a circular to this effect.
The MDA said it recognises the importance of aligning individual policies with a broader government strategy for regional development.
“The imposition of stone facades in new buildings, as part of the government’s vision for Gozo, demonstrates a comprehensive approach to preserving the island’s architectural heritage while fostering economic growth and benefitting the community,” the statement read.
“By integrating this policy within the larger framework of the government’s vision for Gozo, stakeholders can work collaboratively to ensure that development initiatives are guided by principles of sustainability, cultural conservation and quality of life.”
However, while the MDA praised the new policy, it also called for discussions to be held before its implementation on the supply of materials and the introduction of courses to produce skilled builders in Maltese stone.
“While the introduction of stone facades is a significant step towards preserving Gozo’s architectural identity, it’s essential to recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach may not always be suitable,” the association said.
It said that the measure should allow a degree of flexibility to permit the proposal of facades with other materials in select localities, which would still be visually aesthetically pleasing as long as they respect the context of the surroundings.
“This approach can ensure that while preserving tradition, the island can also embrace innovation and contemporary design, enhancing its appeal to residents and visitors alike.”
It ended the statement by applauding the ministry for its leadership in “advancing a holistic vision for the future of Gozo”.