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MALTATODAY 17 July 2022

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8 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 17 JULY 2022 NEWS Heritage watchdog demands replica of illegally demolished Marsaxlokk house JAMES DEBONO THE Superintendence for Cul- tural Heritage has shot down plans for the reconstruction of a heritage building in Xatt is-Sajjieda in Marsaxlokk, which had been illegally demolished in 2010, and is insisting on a "clos- er replication of the historic façade." Noting that the façade pro- posed in an application for the construction of a five-storey hotel on this site "in no way re- sembles the historical facade as it had been unfortunately de- molished", the SCH called for an amended design, omitting any protruding balconies, which includes "three arched terraces at first-floor level", to recover its architectural values and pre- serve the traditional streetscape. The watchdog was reacting to plans for a five-storey guest- house in between two, protected buildings fronting the Marsax- lokk promenade, where the for- mer building, also protected, was illegally demolished. The building was demolished after the police ordered the own- er to remove dangerous struc- tures due to falling masonry. Subsequently, a permit allowed the owners to carefully disman- tle a dangerous collapsed roof, but not the façade of the old building. Instead it was demol- ished in its entirety. But in 2017, the Planning Au- thority not only "sanctioned" the illegal demolition of the protect- ed building against a planning contribution of €50,000, but allowed the owners to build a restaurant and an overlying mai- sonette in its place. The façade of the restaurant was to be an exact replica of the demolished building, finished in pointed weathered stone, and timber and glass apertures. The plot stretching between the picturesque Xatt is-Sajjieda and the residential Triq tas-Silg, where the hotel is being pro- posed, is partly located in the Urban Conservation Area where development cannot surpass two floors. The owners want three re- ceded floors on the part of the plot which is outside the UCA boundary. A pool area is be- ing proposed on the part of the building where the height is lim- ited to two storeys. Moviment Graffitti and Flimk- ien Ghall Ambjent Ahjar have both objected to the application on the grounds that past illegal- ities should not be rewarded. FAA reminded the Planning Authority that planning rules excluded the demolition of scheduled buildings. Graffitti expressed its concern that ap- proval of the new development would send the message "that demolishing protected buildings is acceptable since new buildings can still be allowed to be built on the same site". Cultural Heritage watchdog wants further terracing from proposed hotel facing Xatt is-Sajjieda from that facing the residential area DNA tests on Birzebbugia corpse yet to confirm identity, no foul play suspected NO foul play is being suspect- ed in the death of a man whose heavily decomposed corpse was found in Birżebbuġa, in the vi- cinity of a wedding hall, oppo- site Għar Dalam. Police said the victim has not yet been identified, and inves- tigators are expecting more in- formation from the DNA tests in a bid to confirm the man's identity within the next days. The unidentified body was discovered at around 6:30pm with sources saying that iden- tification will only be possible after the autopsy. In an official statement, the police said that it received an anonymous report at the Że- jtun police station saying that there was a dead body under a tree at the location. A magisterial inquiry is un- derway, presided by Magistrate Gabriella Vella. Meanwhile the Major Crimes Unit, District Po- lice and officials from the police force's forensic laboratory are continuing their investigations. "An autopsy on the cadaver should shed more light on the case, as will DNA tests, which will help confirm the identity of the man," the police statement reads. The gruesome discovery comes more than two weeks after an elderly man suffering from dementia went missing from St Vincent de Paul resi- dence in Luqa. Over the past weeks, the po- lice had also been searching for another elderly man who went missing from Żejtun.

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