Planning Authority to fund Balluta Bay pedestrian access project

Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia

Last Updated on Monday, 30 August, 2021 at 6:42 pm by Andre Camilleri

Five other new urban embellishment projects

The Joe Attard Kingswell pedestrian access stairway, which is a popular route used by many to cross from the upper end of the residential area of Balluta to the bay, will be transformed into an eye-catching space.

This was announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia together with the Planning Authority Executive Council Chairperson Martin Saliba and Mayor of St Julian’s Mr Albert Buttigieg.

The minister explained that this project is being fully financed by the Planning Authority’s Development Planning Fund and will cost around €450,000.

The new design for the area will provide architectural interest to an otherwise featureless stretch of road and stairs that lack any aesthetic value. The project will include a landscaping scheme that will breaking up the existing steep slope by creating a terraced layout which follows the site contours. The scheme will accommodate a water feature, flowing down the whole length of the site, providing platforms in non-slip paving and wooden seat benches together with soft landscaping in the terraced areas being created. A chair lift will also be installed.

The site is flanked between scheduled buildings on either side: a row of Grade 2 townhouses and the Balluta Church (Grade 1) to the north, and the landmark Grade 1 Balluta Building which was designed by the renowned Maltese architect Giuseppe Psaila to the south.

Minister Farrugia reiterated that numerous investments have been made in improving Malta’s quality of life and environmental sustainability, also through its Planning Development Fund. “We are working towards creating liveable environments and happier communities. Through various initiatives, we are creating and encouraging better recreational areas and healthier urban environments”, said Minister Farrugia.

Martin Saliba, Chairperson of the Planning Authority Executive Council said that, “The core of the Planning Authority’s Development Planning Fund is to provide the financial support to ensure that ambitious community projects both small and large do not get delayed but are carried out to enhance the quality of life within our towns and villages.”

Mr Saliba concluded that, “We chose to fund this project because it ticks all the boxes since its combines good quality urban design with green infrastructure and better pedestrian accessibility. The combination of soft and hard landscaping is also sympathetic to the urban character of the area which combines high quality historic buildings with more modern architecture.”

The authority is also committing to fund another five embellishment projects in three other localities to the value of €433,000.

In the locality of Mosta, the authority will be financing the refurbishment of two public gardens and the repaving of a pedestrian alley close to the Mosta Football Ground. For the two public gardens – the Grognet de Vasse Garden, located in the Tal-Blata l-Għolja area, and the 15th October Garden,  which is sited in the area known as Il-Ħotba ta’ Żokrija – the authority will be funding up to €288,000 in new playground equipment, rubber flooring and other embellishment works to make these open spaces attractive, modern, and safe.

The Planning Authority also agreed to finance €95,000 for the reconstruction of a new footpath along Triq il-Kappillan Mifsud in Ħamrun. This road in the vicinity of the Lyceum is one that connects Ħamrun with Santa Venera.

In Gozo, it will be funding €40,000 for new paving and embellishment works in Triq il-Kunċizzjoni in Qala.

Since the inception of the Development Planning Fund, the Planning Authority has provided funding for over 140 projects to the equivalent of €15 million.

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