Sunday Times of Malta, 18 May 2008, by Herman Grech – The Prime Minister has requested the management of Public Broadcasting Services to withdraw an application to demolish the existing premises in Guardamangia.

Television House and Rediffusion House, constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, will not bite the dust after all, after Lawrence Gonzi urged the management to pull the plug on the application, through a letter sent by Education Minister Dolores Cristina. It is understood that the letter was sent to PBS chairman Joe Fenech Conti on Friday evening.

Public Broadcasting Services was planning to tear down the buildings, build new headquarters and have an adjacent complex of apartments and commercial premises.

But the government stopped the application on the grounds that the buildings are considered to be examples of quality modern architecture as well as broadcasting landmarks.

It is the first time that a government application has been halted by the Prime Minister. Since the March 8 election, Dr Gonzi has assumed responsibility for the reform of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.

The broadcasting landmarks off St Luke’s Road, which heralded the advent of mass telecommunications, appear run down, largely because they have not been maintained properly. But they are both listed buildings on account of their value as examples of ‘quality modern architecture’.

The application is expected to be withdrawn by tomorrow and the file at Mepa closed.

A Mepa board held on April 24 had decided to defer the application by four weeks. A one week timeframe was conceded to the architect for the final submissions of the reactions by the applicant. During the four-week period, the Planning Directorate was to consult with the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage and request a detailed individual report on the scheduling of these two sites.