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MALTATODAY 17 April 2022

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7 NEWS maltatoday | SUNDAY • 17 APRIL 2022 JAMES DEBONO THE Superintendence for Cul- tural Heritage has added its voice to decry the uglification of one of Sliema's last remaining tradi- tional streets, still characterised by a uniform streetscape. Reacting to a proposed addi- tion of three full storeys on three townhouses in the area, the SCH made it clear that their addition was "unacceptable". "The properties in question form part of a relatively un- touched two storey streetscape, and given the value of the prop- erties in question, finds the ad- dition of any full storeys to be detrimental to the value of the properties and the streetscape, and therefore unacceptable." Moreover, the SCH also noted that the houses are in the imme- diate vicinity of other scheduled properties. This means that the Planning Authority has to assess the impact of the development on the protected buildings as required by a policy enacted in 2020. While technically the SCH has no power to stop the application, short of issuing an emergency conservation order, the Plan- ning Authority is bound to give weight to this objection when processing the application. The heritage watchdog also attributed the buildings to ar- chitect and developer Gustavo Vincenti. Vincenti's early pre-war works included several townhouses in Sliema which were inspired by Art Deco and Art Nouveau. A number of such houses span from Triq Sir Adrian Dingli, along Triq Blanche Huber and round to Triq Melita, contribut- ing to the unique streetscape of this area. Vincenti's later works include a number of modern- ist structures like the Palazzina Vincenti in St Julian's, which the SCH also wants protected from being converted into a 14-storey hotel. Blanche Huber Street in Sliema is one of the town's last tradi- tional streets where a uniform skyline is an integral part of the locality's urban conservation ar- ea. The row of townhouses oppo- site the proposed development was granted Grade 2 protection in 2018 but this protection was not extended to cover the entire road. Although the façade of the buildings will be preserved, if approved the development will create blank party walls which will be visible from Triq Sir Adri- an Dingli, Triq Blanche Huber and Triq Melita. The latter two streets have so far remained in- tact and devoid of any large-scale developments or apartment blocks. Residents in the area fear that any approval of the proposal will encourage the further sprawl of apartment blocks already mush- rooming on Triq Sir Adrian Dingli further into the core of Sliema's well preserved streets- capes. The proposal will also cast a shadow onto neighbouring properties and their backyards and gardens. 55 residents have already sub- mitted their objection to the proposal, describing it as detri- mental not just on the aesthet- ics of the area but also to the community which thrives in the locality, "where access to open space, sunlight and quiet streets is highly depended on". The Planning Authority's ad- visory panel on design issues has already expressed concern that the proposal will result in creation of blank party walls on both streets and has called for a revised proposal mitigating the visual impact on surroundings. Superintendence objects to additional f loors on Blanche Huber Street townhouses attributed to Gustavo Vincenti Sliema's traditional streets under siege

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