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MALTATODAY 19 December 2021

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 19 DECEMBER 2021 NEWS 11 Awguri għal Milied hieni u sena tajba Il-Ministru Julia Farrugia Portelli Kandidata fuq il-5 u s-7 Distrett JAMES DEBONO THE Superintendence for Cultural Heritage has added its voice to that of residents by shooting down plans to demolish Casa Rohan and Casa Cottoner, two British colonial style, terraced houses in Sacred Heart Avenue in St Julian's. The application by Justin Zammit Tabona, owner of the Xara Palace boutique ho- tel in Mdina, is to retain the townhouses' façades and add four overlying storeys for a 17-apartment block, pools at ground and roof level, a roof garden and three parking lev- els for 36 cars. The SCH warned that the intensity of development will have "a massive and negative impact on the historical fabric and the legibility of the archi- tecture of these houses and their gardens". The site is merely 25m from the Sacred Heart Convent, which has already been pro- posed for scheduling by the SCH in recognition of its ar- chitectural and historical val- ue. If the Planning Authority ac- cepts the SCH recommenda- tion to schedule the convent, any development carried in the buffer zone of the convent would have to respect its con- text. "As the property is with- in the buffer zone of proper- ties that are being studied for scheduling, a design which is acceptable within a scheduled property buffer zone needs to be produced," the SCH said. The five townhouses are typical of British colonial ar- chitecture dating to the 1920s and 1930 and are character- ised by colonnaded porches, similar to a row of houses at Gwardamangia Hill in Pietà, which houses were scheduled as Grade 2. The back gardens of the houses include a num- ber of mature trees and con- stitute a green enclave. Although rejected by the Planning Authority in 2012 due to the "excessive" nature of the development resulting in the "over-development of the site", this decision was twice overturned by an ap- peals tribunal in 2012 and 2018. The law courts revoked the first decision of the appeals tribunal, allowing the devel- opment subject to a number of conditions two years later. Subsequently, in May 2018 the PA's Environment and Planning Review Tribunal is- sued new guidelines for devel- opment on this site. These conditions included the retention of the existing façade and building align- ment, a design which respects the architectural features of the existing façade and that the building depth for all lev- els, including the basement level, shall not extend more than 25m from the road align- ment. The development was also limited to four floors and an underlying basement above road level. The properties in question contain significant architec- tural features, especially in terms of its entrance hall and main staircase that should be retained and integrated into the proposal. Residents fear the approval of this application will set in motion a 'domino effect' that would impact upon three oth- er outstanding colonial hous- es located in the same street. Sacred Heart residents fear domino effect Casa Rohan development could prejudice Sacred Heart scheduling The houses as they stand today, and the proposed apartment block to replace the houses on Sacred Heart Avenue in St Julian's

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