Squatters ordered out as Villa Frere risks collapse

Aqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.

A Msida-based scaffolding company has been ordered to vacate parts of Grade 1 National Monument Villa Frere it has occupied for 60 years, while those being evicted are yet to leave, claiming they have the right to remain.

According to the Lands Authority, the premises used by Joseph F. Spiteri & Co Ltd, known as Tal-Kee Klamps, have been left unmaintained and are at risk of imminent collapse.

While legal action is now underway, it is unknown how the company, which supplies scaffolding and construction equipment, has been allowed to occupy the large premises on Msida’s Marina Street without title documents for a long time.

Sources told The Shift that Heritage Malta, the government agency responsible for national heritage, has been calling on the government to order the eviction of the premises for several years, but to no avail.

Only now, after some 60 years, has legal action finally been taken.

Sources said that the recent action was only taken following an inspection by an architect, who found that the top-floor ceiling is in a critical condition to the point that contractors were reluctant to carry out temporary remedial works out of fears for their safety.

Technical reports seen by The Shift also express grave concern over the situation, as the ceilings were described as “condemned and in an explosive state of imminent collapse”.

Though enforcement officers from the Lands Authority have already been on site and asked tenants to vacate immediately, the inhabitants still occupy and use the building.

The tenants maintain that they hold title to the premises as, in the 1960s, it was their family home before they turned it into a hub for their scaffolding business.

Apart from the Kee Klamps company, other parts of the premises are reportedly being used illegally by other individuals and for other purposes. The Shift was informed that legal action had also been initiated to evict them.

Built by John Hookham Frere, a renowned English scholar, politician, poet, and diplomat in 1821, Villa Frere and its grand gardens on the Pieta waterfront were scheduled as a national monument in 2020 due to historical, architectural and unique cultural value.

Although Heritage Malta owns it, its administration and restoration have been entrusted to NGO Friends of Villa Frere.

Substantial parts of its gardens were destroyed in the 1950s to be used as parts of the St Luke’s Hospital premises.

                           

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8 Comments
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Godfrey Leone Ganado
Godfrey Leone Ganado
2 months ago

Why not knock it down and turn into top-notch gardens as an extension to St Luke’s Hospital to be used by patients and visitors.
Where is the Minister of the environment, or is she just interested in roundabouts for greening illusions?

Toni Borg
Toni Borg
2 months ago

A garden would be a waist…under Labour this should be knocked down and built into an 11 storey hotel!!!…only way Robert knows how to keep the economy grinding!

Peter
Peter
2 months ago
Reply to  Toni Borg

Look who is talking …. loolol … u le!

Charles Busuttil Dougall
Charles Busuttil Dougall
2 months ago
Reply to  Toni Borg

I think it should be WASTE, not waist!!!

Martin Hampton
Martin Hampton
2 months ago

It seems Mr. Leone Ganado’s comment was written rashly without checking the facts. I would humbly suggest he visits the gardens (open to the public every first Sunday of the month) to see for himself the huge progess made therein since Friends of Villa Frere took over the care of the gardens in 2013.

observer
observer
2 months ago

Why was Liliana Spiteri’s insight into the matter censored?

Caroline Muscat
Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  observer

No censorship. We followed on the comment and contacted her. She would not go on record or provide any evidence to support the stand. We made an effort to report the family’s side of the story. And how would you know about the comment – comfortably accusing us of censorship in a post with no name? Give us the evidence and we have no problem saying we were wrong, if that is really the case.

Eve grixti
Eve grixti
2 months ago

In Malta everything must go to rack and ruin so then we spend 10 times on restoration always a backwards process

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