Din l-Art Helwa Press Release 29th October 2009

The character of historic Balluta Square will be spoiled if the electric bus terminus proposed by the St Julian’s Local Council goes ahead (PA 02358/09), says Din l-Art Helwa. Apart from the bus station at the bottom of the hill, which would partly replace the existing public toilets, the proposal also includes a long covered shelter stretching up the road that divides Balluta Square from Balluta Valley. It is proposed that this long shelter would have rows of solar panels installed on the roof and buses parked underneath.

Din l-Art Helwa insists that a shelter and a row of buses parked on this stretch of road would create an unacceptable eyesore for residents and other pedestrians enjoying the charming ambience of the square. New bus parking areas should be sited away from this popular and picturesque site.

This historic area and several nearby buildings, including Balluta Buildings and Casa Torregiani on either side of Balluta Square, have been scheduled by Mepa. This protection extends to the square itself, with its old kiosk, monument and fountain. This shady square has beautiful mature trees, and is a favourite spot where people gather to sit outdoors in good weather.

According to statements in the press, the St Julian’s Local Council is also proposing to build an underground car park underneath the main area of the square. Din l-Art Helwa is adamant that Balluta Square should remain intact, and stresses that none of its charming features should be removed nor any trees cut down to make way for the construction of an underground parking lot in Balluta Square. Creating underground car parking spaces would further add to the traffic congestion and cause deterioration in the air quality of the area.