June, 27, 2019

The Planning authority has issued an Emergency Conservation Order in respect of a late 16th/early 17th century Grade 2 scheduled townhouse situated in Triq l-Ifran, Valletta. Due to the Dangerous Structure Consent (DS 0117/18) issued in July 2018, a permit for the replacement of a balcony located on the facade on Triq l-Ajkla was permitted, which works had to commence within three months but had never in fact been undertaken. 

It also transpired that the building has been internally demolished and has been left neglected thus putting the remaining external fabric at severe risk of deterioration and collapse.  This internal demolition was not carried out according to the approved planning permit PA 1489/15.  Such illegal works were served with an Enforcement Notice (EC 0037/18) which is still ongoing.

The property, which lies within one of the most important areas of Malta’s cultural heritage assets,  exhibits significant architectural and historical character and it seems that most of the original fabric had been largely retained albeit undergoing some historic alterations and additions.  Although the facade on Triq l-Ifran can be defined as being austere, it still enhances the character of the traditional streetscape of Valletta.  The main defining features on this facade are the heavily moulded string course, the Melitan mouldings around the windows, and the three traditional closed timber balconies.  The largest of these closed timber balconies is supported by a masonry base which in turn is supported by four corbels having the height of four courses.  The ground floor of the building consists of a number of entrances leading to the different households since the building was sub-divided into several smaller tenements. The property lies in an Urban Conservation Area of Valletta which has also been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 The Emergency Conservation Order has been approved by the Executive Council of the Planning Authority.