Guidelines for visual integrity of scheduled buildings and protection of monuments published

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Greater vigilance will be exercised when assessing and determining proposed development applications which fall in close proximity to a scheduled building or monument, the Minister for the Environment, Aaron Farrugia announced.

This approach is being adopted after the Planning Authority published guidelines on how to identify, interpret, and treat the context of scheduled buildings.

Minister Farrugia said that these guidelines seek to safeguard the context and setting of sites that carry heritage value.

During a visit to Villa Frere, Minister Aaron Farrugia said that the concept of intelligent planning also requires us to protect scheduled buildings and monuments.

The Planning Directorate, when assessing a development application that is in close proximity to a scheduled building/monument must at the screening stage or following the validation of the application;

  • Identify the proximity of the setting of the scheduled property
  • Make a detailed assessment of the impacts of the proposed development on the protected building
  • Identify the mitigation measures to be taken

The Environment Minister said that this assessment process must be supported by recommendations made by the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage (SCH).  Once the extent of the context is established on the recommendations of the SCH, an applicant will be required to provide the Planning Directorate with a complete photographic inventory and “character appraisal” of the context.

To further assess the visual implications and potential impacts on the scheduled building, photomontages from strategic viewpoints will also be required.

The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage will have the right to request that submitted drawings should include streetscapes showing full details of the adjoining buildings and existing street levels. The streetscape elevations should span across side streets when sites near or at corners are being proposed for development.

Cases prior to validation will be assessed to confirm whether the submission has satisfied the relevant criteria to enable adequate evaluation during processing any other information deemed necessary.

Martin Saliba, Chairperson of the PA’s Executive Council said that Each scheduled building is located within a spatial context with which it relates to in different aspects. The setting is, therefore, an essential part of the building and how it is experienced.

He continued to explain that these procedural guidelines better spell out how authorities intend not to compromise built cultural heritage.