The Manikata Church, which is dedicated to St Joseph, was today approved as a scheduled Grade 1 building by the Mepa board.
The approval of this scheduling comes less than a month after the board gave its consent to the heritage planning directorate for it to conclude the administrative work that was required for this building to be scheduled as a Grade 1 property.
During these past weeks the authority also approved over 50 other Parish churches, designating as Grade 1 those which were built before the1900s and Grade 2 those built in the 20th century, up until 1960.
The St Joseph Church in Manikata, which was designed by Richard England in 1962, promoted the new philosophy the Catholic Church was adopting through the Second Vatican Council, whereby the traditional separation of clergy and laity which had been the norm in the planning of churches was to be dispensed with.
In designing the new St Joseph Church, Richard England broke away from the conventional traditional parish churches and based his design concept on both the then on-going liturgical reforms and the aspirations of the local rural community.
Chairman Austin Walker said that today's decision wrapped up more than two years of intensive research, studies and consultation by Mepa's Heritage Planning Unit in the scheduling of most of Malta's parish churches.
"The scheduling of the Manikata Church will ensure that any future interventions that may be carried out on this site will fully respect the rich and unique architectural value of this building," he said.
The authority said that the planning development permit granted by the Environment Planning Commission on July 19 for the construction of storage facilities and a catechesis hall under the church included a number of significant amendments from the original proposal.
The development has been restricted to within the existing footprint and the original design and appearance of the Parish church is to be retained.