Court upholds local council’s injunction against PA’s decision to demolish Fgura farmhouse

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Court upheld an injunction filed by the Fgura Local Council, to stop the Planning Authority’s decision which gave the green light for the demolition of a farmhouse in Fgura, announced the local council.

In October this year, the Appeals Board within the Planning Authority decided that a farmhouse in Hompesch Road in Fgura, the oldest building in the locality, may be demolished. The Fgura Local Council, has been vociferous about the issue for the past 25 years said it will objecting to the project.

This project was the recipient of criticism from Fgura residents, as well as several NGOs, who are against the farmhouse being demolished due to its historical and cultural value.

The project submitted by Trevor Buttigieg will see the demolition of the farmhouse and the building of a wall surrounding the property.

The NGO Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, FAA, had issued a statement back in September  explaining that this farmhouse ‘is not just the only simple vernacular building in a sea of characterless modern buildings around it’ but it harks back to Fgura’s medieval villages and the Ficura family that gave the area its name.

The NGO mentioned how in 1995 Fgura Local Council had won Grade 3 protection for the farmhouse, as parts of it are known to date back over 200 years and the council had expressed its wish to restore the building, reconstruct its original niche and transform the farm into a much-needed public cultural centre and green open space.

Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar mentioned how MEPA had refused attempts to have the building descheduled in 2009, 2011 and 2015 but without warning, in February 2019, the Environment Planning Review Tribunal granted the descheduling.

The Fgura Local Council said that the court injunction was filed this week and on the 2nd of October the Local Council had also presented a request to the Planning Authority to schedule the farmhouse. The request was made based on a technical report commissioned by the local council in which the historical importance of the building was reaffirmed.

The local council said that if its request is to be ignored then the authorities will give a message that our national heritage is not worth protecting for future generations to appreciate.