‘New road in Dingli will wreak architectural heritage & threatens farmers’ livelihood’

Had Dingli attivisti

The Kummissjoni Patrimonju Kulturali Kattoliku, KPKK and Kummissjoni Interdjocesana Ambjent, KA, expressed their concerns about a new road in Ħad Dingli which is planned to link Daħla tas-Sienja with Sqaq il-MUSEUM.

In a joint statement, the KPKK and the KA stated that it is indeed ironic that Infrastructure Malta undertook the work on this street just after the public consultation stage of the draft Rural Policy and Design Guidance 2020 which is supposed to support farmers in their agricultural activities.  The Commission highlighted how the project goes against the aims of this policy since it threatens farmers’ livelihood.

Infrastructure Malta’s arguments that this road is needed in the event of a future emergency is as dangerous as it is flawed and if its arguments were to hold, then many village cores in Malta and Gozo might as well be demolished so that their narrow streets and alleys, which give such historic centres their character, would be widened, argued the Commissions.

Moviment Graffitti

The KPKK and the KA deplored the permission granted to Infrastructure Malta by the Environmental and Resources Authority,ERA, to remove carob trees estimated to be hundreds of years old for the formation of a new road.

“The decision will wreak the natural, cultural and architectural heritage and its context and threaten the livelihood of the farming community,” said KPKK and KA.

The works risk damaging a medieval building, which experts have identified as the Chapel of Saint Domenica. This chapel is one of the few remaining medieval examples of medieval architecture in Malta. The Rollo of 1436 shows that since 1402, this site had already been recognized as a parish since it is described as cappella sancte Dominica tartarni. It was known as such at least until 1522.

“The proposed road is a threat to the remaining structure of this chapel and its context. It is important that a detailed archaeological assessment be carried out to uncover other remains of related structures that may exist in the immediate vicinity of the chapel. These may include a cemetery which was commonly found adjacent to such medieval chapels,” explained the Commissions.

A study carried out in 2005 revealed the presence of significant finds in the area of Ħal Tartarni, of which the chapel of Saint Domenica was the parish church. It was noted the remains of the chapel of Saint Domenica ta’ Ħal Tartarni have nothing to do with the baroque chapel of Saint Domenica (in Triq il-Għajn), which was built in 1669.

In view of this situation the The Kummissjoni Patrimonju Kulturali Kattoliku and Kummissjoni Interdjocesana Ambjent are calling for;

  • A review should be urgently carried out to curb the exemptions granted to Infrastructure Malta that allow it not to have to apply for full development permissions for certain projects
  • We appeal to the authorities for a review of the local plans which has been promised for years but has not yet materialized.
  • The shelving of the plan to build this road, the safeguarding of the natural environment and farmers’ livelihood and the carrying out of the necessary studies to preserve the chapel and its context

Over the past days Dingli residents, farmers and Moviment Graffitti have appealed to the government to stop the construction of a planned road and to preserve the locality’s cultural, environmental and agricultural heritage.