Din l-Art Ħelwa gives a thumbs down to proposed Floriana Observation Wheel

Planned to stand 45 metres high, and located off St Publius Street near the Granaries, the construction of an Observation ‘Wheel’ at Floriana has been found totally unacceptable to Din l-Art Ħelwa, National Trust of Malta.  The heritage NGO has made its objections known to the Planning Authority on the grounds that this structure, whether permanent or temporary, will mar the historic approaches to Valletta and Floriana, and create a serious visual intrusion on the skylines of Valletta from both the Three Cities and from Sliema.  It also will result in the complete obliteration of the Floriana/Valletta boundary, since it rides astride the highest point between the two towns and will consume public open space to allow for a private commercial proposition.

The sizeable structure will also dwarf St Publius Parish Church, a Grade 1 scheduled landmark building, the unique Grade 1 scheduled Granaries, and the Grade 1 Mall Gardens, which all lie close to the proposed observation wheel.

Quoting from the Grand Harbour Local Plan policies which relate to Building Heights in Floriana, the NGO is objecting on the grounds that “no development will be permitted which detracts from views of and from UCAs”.  The objection also makes reference to the SPED (July 2015), which requires that “no development within historic sites should be permitted unless it ensures that the historic site’s skyline is not adversely affected”.  The proposed application for a private business proposition intends to capitalise on the views of Valletta’s World Heritage walls and its harbours; it departs heavily from permitted policies, lacks sensitivity to the historic character of Valletta and Floriana, and should be dismissed, says Din l-Art Ħelwa.  Furthermore, this kind of entertainment structure, passing off as an observation point, will inevitably bring further clutter in the way of refreshment and catering areas, ticketing booths and visitor facilities.  St Publius Square, its unique collection of historic silos, its adjacent parking zones and shaded spaces are public areas which should not be taken up to facilitate an individual business proposition, but should be left free and unencumbered.

Din l-Art Ħelwa strongly urges the Planning Authority to dismiss this proposal outright.

Any member of the public wishing to send an objection to the Planning Authority  is invited to write to quoting PA/02517/18 by June 21, 2019.