The Planning Authority on Thursday approved an outline application for the addition of three floors to a row of nine scheduled two-storey townhouses in Paceville, raising them to the level of adjacent buildings.

Applicant Pricilla Calleja applied after she failed to get a permit in 2017 to demolish one of the townhouses and replace it with a five-storey guesthouse.

The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage had objected to that project but did not object to this proposal given that the additional floors will have a one-metre setback.

The case officer also stated that the proposal was acceptable in principle, and that the actual design, use, parking and setback at the upper level are to be assessed in detail at the full development stage.

The site consists of a row of scheduled two-storey townhouses from the interwar period. The properties are scheduled as Grade 2 and have a significant cultural heritage value. The site has a frontage on Triq il-Wilga and another on Triq Paceville, both located within the development limits for of St Julian’s.

NGO representative Romano Cassar was the only one who voted against the proposal. He observed that following the decision by the law courts in Santa Lucija, the PA was not approving applications disrupting uniform streetscapes even when the buildings in question were not scheduled. In this case, the owners were not proposing a pencil development like in Santa Lucija but a development covering all townhouses.

He said this was not acceptable on scheduled properties.

PA deputy chairman Martin Camilleri said the details related to the setback of the upper floors were to be determined at a later stage once photomontages and computer-generated images of the proposed development were prepared as part of the full development application.

Calleja said in her application that the proposal was to raise the building height of the existing scheduled townhouses “in a uniform architectural vocabulary” reaching the adjacent blank third-party walls of adjacent properties.

She declared that she is not the owner of all properties but had the consent of the owners to submit that application.

Tara Cassar from Din l-Art Helwa argued that this row of townhouses constituted a distinct streetscape which ought to be protected. 

Their grade of protection means that they cannot be demolished but will have three floors added to them.

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