An extra storey is being proposed on Villino Zammit in Sliema’s High Street, a scheduled Grade 2 neo-classical building which is now being earmarked for the development of a hotel.
Grade 2 buildings are normally protected from demolition and only small alterations are allowed. But over the past year the Planning Authority has taken a more liberal approach especially with regards to additional storeys and development in back gardens.
The proposed development will entail the demolition of the existing wall along Triq San Nikola at the back of the site and an extension of the building to cater for accommodation rooms which will rise up to six storeys.Triq San Nicola is a well-preserved street of over 150 year old traditional houses.
Villino Zammit was designed by the prominent late-19th century architect Francesco Zammit and is one of the few surviving examples of detached villas in Sliema complete with their surrounding gardens.
The villa consists of a two storey, imposing neo-classical, detached building originally constructed as an opulent residence with a large rear garden and smaller front garden.
The gardens of the villa where most of the present development is proposed are not scheduled but according to the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage still have the same lay out found in a survey dating back to 1914.
Din l-Art Helwa (DLH) has objected to the proposal to the building-up of the garden as this will result in the removal of a valuable green space in a densely built-up area.
“Should any development be permissible on Triq San Nicola the proposed height should revised so as not to be any higher than the adjacent properties within the area of influence”.
The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has asked for photomontages of the proposed development to assess the impact of the development from various viewpoints, noting that the development will likely affect the character of the Grade 2 scheduled building.
This is the second application presented by applicant Malcolm Data Mallia. In 2014 the Planning Authority approved the restoration of the Grade 2 building and the construction of a swimming pool in the garden.
In 2003 a previous owner had presented an application for a change from residential use to a casino and restaurant. The application also foresaw the construction of additional floor and provision of underground parking. The application was later withdrawn.