Scheme for sustainable regeneration of facades in the Marsamxett area to bring about social, economic, and cultural benefits to urban areas

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 November, 2020 at 3:39 pm by Andre Camilleri

A scheme to further promote investment in the restoration and maintenance on all timber balconies, apertures, doors and wrought iron open balconies that are on the facade of the building within the area of lower Valletta is being launched by the Planning Authority (PA). 

This was announced by the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia and the Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi. 

The call for requests from owners or tenants of private residential dwellings is being launched to further the aims of the previously launched Marsamxett Balcony Scheme. The second call will go beyond balconies, focusing on creating better, more sustainable facades. 

“Following the success of the Marsamxett Balcony Scheme and its value to those who benefited from it, this call will take it a step further. This scheme will not only target balconies, but also doors, windows and apertures, improving the aesthetic value of our capital, preserving our architectural heritage but also improving the quality of life of its citizens and addressing the specific needs of communities in lower Valletta”, said the minister. 

Minister Farrugia reiterated that while work on environment regulation, afforestation projects, and biodiversity protection in rural zones is ongoing, the Ministry is also focusing on improving urban areas. “The time has come to improve the environment we live in every day and spend the most time in; our homes, our workplace, our schools, and the roads we pass through every day. Our urban areas should be better and greener, and our planning should take both sustainability and social realities into consideration”, said the minister.

Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said that this scheme for the restoration of balconies in lower Valletta, specifically in the Marsamxett area, was first announced in October 2018 and that now it will be re-issued with an investment of €300,000 in European funds. He explained that this scheme will complement the rest of the regeneration works project in the Marsamxett area, which are all being financed by European funds.

The parliamentary secretary concluded by saying that the scope of this particular investment is taking into consideration the needs of the communities living in Marsamxett and preserving the city landscape of Valletta characterised by the traditional Maltese balconies.

“Today, when walking through the most parts of Valletta, you can feel that there is a renewed sense of pride; an expectation that the city is fast becoming a place where to live again and where culture, gastronomy, art, entertainment and hospitality converge turning Valletta into a destination. Some zones, such as the area of Marsamxett, which holds a unique historical value within the Capital, are still in the process of being regenerated and so need more assistance to breathe new life into them. We are re-opening this scheme to give residents within the Marsamxett area the opportunity to contribute towards the regeneration of their area. The scheme is equally about architectural preservation, as it is to improve the social dimension of families living in this area”, stated Martin Saliba, Chairperson of the PA’s Executive Council.

Minister Farrugia concluded by saying that this initiative goes hand-in-hand with other schemes launched recently, such as Green Your Home, a scheme financed by the Planning Authority with an investment of €2 million to create green facades; as well as the Irrestawra Darek scheme, in which another €3 million will be invested, allowing applicants who were on a waiting list from previous years, to be able to benefit from this scheme. 

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