Updated 1.45pm with Metsola comment
Bernard Grech has called on Robert Abela to “take action” to ensure the world-heritage Ġgantija Temples in Gozo are protected from any risk of development within their UNESCO buffer zone.
The Opposition leader was speaking during a visit to the temple site during which he reiterated the Nationalist Party’s disgust with a “scandalous” decision to allow a block of flats to rise within the site’s buffer zone.
“Ġgantija and other cultural sites considered to have world heritage value are extremely important for our country and we must do everything we can to protect them. We cannot lose them due to a failure to act by those duty-bound to protect these sites,” he said.
The Ġgantija Temples are a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Planning Authority decision to grant a permit to the apartment block plans, just 150 metres away from the temples, generated shock within architecture and cultural circles and was also criticised by the Malta branch of ICOMOS, the International Council on Monuments and Sites.
ICOMOS is the body that recommends buffer zones to protect heritage monuments.
Grech said the PA decision was just another confirmation that the authority was a reckless one and the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage had been captured by the government.
He urged the prime minister to do anything necessary to eliminate any risk of development within the area.
Grech was accompanied by PN MPs Alex Borg, Chris Said, Julie Zahra and Stanley Zammit.
Metsola: Abela does not value culture
European Parliament President and Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola also issued a rallying call for people to do their utmost to protect the temples from development.
"Ġgantija is a heritage handed to us by our forebears. We have a duty to leave it to those who will come after us. Future generations have a right to enjoy it.
"It is now down to us to save it from a prime minister and his acolytes who have no appreciation for our country's historical and cultural heritage. They just want us to throw away our identity. They know the price of everything but value of nothing," Metsola wrote.