Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, together with a community of Cospicua residents, on Wednesday succeeded in saving the roof of the city's public library from being taken over by a coffee shop.

The application, FAA said in a statement, had been submitted by the owner of the guest house adjoining the low library roof.

After many objections from FAA and neighbours, the lengthy Planning Commission hearing concluded with the applicant's withdrawal of the application.

FAA said it objected to the title of ownership of the roof since no information was made available to the public about an agreement allegedly made between the Lands Authority and the private business. 

It maintained that such public spaces cannot simply be given away by the Lands Authority to the detriment of the community.

Further policy breaches highlighted by the FAA included the library’s location within the urban conservation area where the strictly residential nature and character of the location had to be protected at all costs.

"Allowing cafeteria operations would lead to unwanted noise and disturbance for the 27 bedrooms and living rooms of the private residences surrounding this low-level library roof," it said.

FAA condemned the fact that the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage had approved the application in spite of the fact that it is sited within the setting of scheduled buildings and monuments, and will create a precedent for the commercialisation of an intact heritage area.

It argued that Cospicua's public library is situated at the lower end of Triq L’Oratorju, which already lacks parking spaces.

"Allowing the operation of a cafeteria would exacerbate the problem enormously since not only is an influx of patrons to be expected, but also a huge increase in delivery vans and trucks.

"Currently, parents wait on this public open space for the arrival of their children from St Francis and other schools, since the terrace offers a safe space off the road for children to play."

The organisation continued that two old benches that had been located on the roof space were removed in recent years so it will now join residents as they lobby the council for new benches and urban greening.

"This public open space must be returned to the community as a social space for meeting, socialising and regaining a character which improves the quality of life of residents and the local community.

 

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