The Pietà local council decided unanimously to oppose the massive development project proposed in the locality and is raising a petition objecting to it.

Part of the proposed development lies on a Grade 1 scheduled site, according to the National Protective Inventory for the Maltese Islands.

“We discussed it at council level and decided to oppose it and file as formal objectors. We are also circulating a petition among residents and other people who love Malta’s heritage,” mayor Keith Tanti said on Wednesday.

The proposed project will see the demolition of two villas and a farmhouse and the building of a residential block spread over six floors with underlying shops and garages in a spot adjacent to the Fatima church.

Development is totally out of context with the rest of the road

The applicant, Stephen Falzon, is proposing to demolish Villa Gauci and The Orange Grove as well as a dilapidated farmhouse in Triq Santa Monika and Triq id-Duluri to construct an office, three retail outlets, 114 one, two and three-bedroomed apartments, including penthouses, a botanic garden, a communal pool and 44 garages over three levels, 25 car spaces, an electricity substation and a refuse area.

The petition being raised by the council says that the scale and design of the proposed development is “totally out of context” with the rest of Triq Santa Monika and, therefore, goes against the principles of the Strategic Plan for Environment and Development.

It notes that the Planning Authority has already refused another three proposed developments in the same street because they were incompatible with the context of the road.

The bungalow and the villa, although not scheduled, have become iconic buildings in Pietà and should be restored and retained within the setting of the scheduled gardens, the petition adds.

It complains that the proposed development will increase the parking problem in the area, noting that 44 garages and 25 parking spaces are not enough for the 114 apartments being proposed.

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