Times of Malta, 30th June 2008, by Waylon Johnston

A snack bar painted bright pink, construction waste spilling into a football pitch and a dilapidated tennis court are some of the landmarks that Mdina and Rabat could well do without.

Bacchus Restaurant and Saqqajja Snack Bar were served with enforcement notices by the Malta Environment Planning Authority (Mepa) because they were found to be in breach of regulations.

In the case of Bacchus Restaurant, which is carrying out construction work, a chute that was attached to the side of the bastions had no skip beneath it to take the construction waste.

The construction waste was ending up in the football pitch which is highly visible from Howard Gardens, a popular spot with tourists and locals alike. The waste was left there for two days until an Mepa enforcement officer went to investigate. The waste has since been removed.

About 200 metres down the road, the Saqqajja Snack Bar also had an enforcement notice slapped against it because of the façade that has recently been painted bright pink. The garish colour jars with the rest of the surrounding buildings especially the elegant Casino Notabile.

Rabat and Mdina are considered an urban conservation area by Mepa and the property which the snack bar forms part of is a Schedule Two building which means there are regulations about the colour one can apply when a building is painted.

A third problem that has been annoying Mdina residents is the tennis court which lies below the pathway leading to the Silent City. After extensive restoration works were carried out on the façade to the city’s entrance, the tennis court was left in a state of decay with paint peeling off the walls and an overgrown garden.

A resident told The Times that it did not make sense for the entrance to be restored and then the tennis court forgotten.

When contacted, Mdina mayor Peter Sant Manduca played down the complaint saying that all the court needs is a lick of paint and that, if more people were to use the court, something more permanent might be done to correct the situation, adding that the tennis net has just been replaced.