The fate of a 200-year-old Fgura farmhouse that is the last remnant of a family that gave the locality its name still hangs in the balance, as the decision on whether to allow the demolition of the property to go ahead was postponed by a week by the planning tribunal.
The Fgura council is appealing an application filed by Trevor Buttigieg to have the farmhouse demolished and raise a boundary wall around the property.
A final decision on the appeal was postponed to next week after legal representatives of the local council and the applicant clashed on whether further evidence should be heard on the case.
The sitting had been postponed a week prior after the tribunal encountered technical difficulties in hosting the meeting. Meeting are currently being virtually via video conferencing.
The issue centres on whether further evidence for the appeal, which was submitted late by the local council, should be heard by the tribunal before a decision is taken.
In a May sitting, the tribunal ruled that the Fgura council had a month from the sitting date to submit evidence to bolster the appeal, while the developer would have a month to respond to the evidence.
The council, assisted by lawyer Jonathan Attard, filed an affidavit as to why the appeal had been filed four days late due to payment issues.
The tribunal is expected to decide whether to accept additional evidence and make a final ruling on the appeal next Thursday.
A request by the council to have architect Edward Said, who compiled a report on the state and heritage merit of the farmhouse, testify on why scheduling for the property should be upheld was shot down on the pretext that Said had not previously been included in the list of witnesses.
The farmhouse enjoyed Grade 3 scheduling until a year-and-a-half ago when this was stripped by the Environmental Planning Review Tribunal.
The property enjoys several distinguished vernacular features, including stone slabs and corbels, on the basis of which attempts to have the building descheduled in 2009, 2011 and 2015 were refused.
Documents from the Notarial Archives indicate that the structure is the last surviving property related to the ‘Ficura’ family, which owned the surrounding fields and farms and after whom the locality of Fgura is named.
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