A proposal to build a five-storey block instead of an old Żejtun townhouse is threatening to overshadow a nearby 17th-century chapel, the locality’s council and a heritage NGO are warning.

The proposed development (PA 06418/22) would take place at a corner on Triq Joe Attard, Triq San Klement and Wesgħet l-Għajn tal-Bhejjem.

The area is just off Triq l-Aħħar Ħbit mit-Torok, a historic event that is marked by a chapel built by local hero Klement Tabone.

Tabone had committed to building the chapel, dedicated to his namesake San Klement, if the locals were victorious over the Turks in a 1614 battle.

The chapel is listed in the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands but does not enjoy planning protection, despite requests by the local council and Wirt iż-Żejtun to have it scheduled. National funds have also been allocated for it to be restored.

The proposed building. Photo: eappsThe proposed building. Photo: eapps

What the project proposes 

According to Wirt iż-Żejtun, the chapel is just eight metres away from the townhouse earmarked for development.

The project would see the construction of ground floor garages and an office, apartments on the first, second and third floors, and a penthouse at the top.

The applicant is Thomas Mifsud on behalf of E&TM Co. Ltd., with Karl Borg as the project architect. 

Over 380 representations were registered against the development in four days, with the objectors including the Żejtun local council and Wirt iż-Żejtun.

Both are claiming that the townhouse set for demolition predates the end of the 18th century.

Pre-war photo showing chapel and townhouse. Photo: Żejtun local council FacebookPre-war photo showing chapel and townhouse. Photo: Żejtun local council Facebook

The local council also submitted a pre-war photo showing the townhouse and the chapel at the end of the village, surrounded by fields. The council said it would be a real pity if a building that had survived for hundreds of years is demolished for the sake of development. It also believes the proposed aesthetic would clash with the surroundings.

In its objection, Wirt iż-Żejtun claimed it has documentation showing that the townhouse pre-dates 1793.

It also flagged a sign, on the townhouse, which marks the tragic death of another local hero – Ganni Cassar.

Cassar, who was responsible for the construction of the police station in the 19th century, reportedly died when falling off a horse in front of the townhouse.                                                                       

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