Tuesday, 1 December 2020, 07:48
Last update: about 11 minutes ago
A Planning Control application which deals with the allowable building heights near the tal-Qaret Windmill in Zurrieq has seen a strong backlash from NGOs and many people have already filed objections.
NGOs have raised concerns about the proposed allowable height, saying that they are too high (16.3m at the highest point).
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, in its comments about the proposal, immediately drew attention to the cultural heritage sensitivity of the location and the surrounding context. The site immediately abuts the Tal-Qaret windmill, which is a structure scheduled at Grade 1, thus reflecting its architectural and historical value.
The Superintendence said that part of the site also extends into the Urban Conservation Area of Zurrieq. “Any development as would eventually be considered would therefore be subject to the policies of UCAs and governing transition into such protected areas.” The SCH also drew to the archaeological potential of the site, “a large part of which is still covered in soil and characterised by the presence of thick rubble walls, which so far had been spared from evident intensive development.”
It expressed its concern on the proposed volumes and heights of the structures as proposed. “This office advised that adjacent buildings as eventually proposed should in no way exceed the height of the windmill and should terrace away from the wind mill guaranteeing its legibility and the preservation of its context. Furthermore, the Superintendence notes that this development would in large part be within the UCA or immediately adjacent to it and should therefore be subject to policies protecting the UCA.,” the Superintendence said.
While advising adequate amendments at this stage, the Superintendent asked for photomontages taken from the various streets adjacent to the proposed development, so as to permit an assessment for any proposed heights and volumes. It also requested a cultural heritage assessment of the site.
A number of NGOs spoke out against the proposal.
Din l-Art Helwa(DLH) said that the application “intends to suffocate and eradicate the setting of the 1674 Grade 1 Scheduled windmill.
“The application involves the introduction of 8.6m to 16.3m allowable building heights surrounding the Grade 1 scheduled building. This will ultimately ruin the traditional unique stone millhouse and its setting, dating back to Grandmaster Nicolás Cotoner era. The highest points of the windmill, according to the levels indicated by the applicant, are of approximately 11.5metres. Therefore, most of the potential indicated developments, will be allowed to go higher than the Grade 1 windmill itself. This will alter the backdrop of the windmill from a rural and vernacular landscape to crammed building blocks with no respect to scale.” DLH argued that the proposal goes against a number of policies.
Moviment Graffitti has also filed an objection. “As a rule, Grade 1 scheduled buildings must be protected at all costs from any development and planning control applications, particularly when the latter threaten to totally engulf and spoil their historic setting.”
“If the planning control application, which is proposing the introduction of 8.6 to 16.3 metres allowable building heights surrounding the windmill is approved, then the windmill and its historic backdrop will be ultimately ruined and devoured by buildings which will potentially be allowed to go up to approximately 5 storeys. The traditional windmill’s Grade 1 Scheduling will mean next to nothing, setting an ugly precedent for other sites of historical and cultural import,” Moviment Graffitti said.
Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar has also made its disagreement with the proposal known on Facebook.