President George Vella has expressed his "shock and disappointment" at plans for a new apartment block in his own street, in Żejtun's historic centre

Plans for a five-storey apartment block in Triq San Girgor, 15 metres away from the Grade 1 scheduled Church of Jesus of Nazareth and just outside the town's Urban Conservation Area were revealed by the heritage group Wirt iż-Żejtun on Saturday.

According to the group, a permit for the development was approved by the Planning Authority in 2019 under a summary procedure, which meant it did not even require a board hearing. 

Commenting on the group's post, the President expressed his dismay at the plans and called for them to be re-examined. 

"As a citizen who was raised and who lives in this street, I am shocked and disappointed by the lack of sensitivity and respect towards the urban fabric of this part of Żejtun," Vella said. "I appeal for this permit to be reconsidered. Our town deserves better."

Wirt iż-Żejtun said it had written to the Planning Authority asking for the permit to be investigated and for legal measures to be taken for it to be withdrawn.

"If this development goes ahead, it will forever ruin a picturesque and beloved streetscape," the group said.

The group also noted that a number of other properties in the street had recently been restored, preserving the area's historic architecture and improving the street's appearance. 

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