Viewpoints

29 Aug

A question of very different lobbyists – Alex Torpiano

In a recent testimony to the public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the former executive chairman of the Planning Authority testified on the business meals that he had had with Yorgen Fenech. When questioned, he equated the pressure that developers exert, in order to get permission to build more and higher, with the pressure of eNGOs who lobby...

21 Aug

How to replace two protected houses with a nine-storey block, by Alex Torpiano

This is the story of two late 19th/early 20thcentury, Grade 2 scheduled, houses located within the St.Julian’s Urban Conservation Area, and abutting a “safeguarded area of natural coastline”, (North Harbours Local Plan policy, NHCV03). As Preface, in 2014, the redevelopment of the interior of the smaller house, is proposed behind the retained ca. 5.2m façade. The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage...

20 May

Our health versus economic growth, by Stanley Farrugia Randon

One of the resolutions approved unanimously by members during the Annual General Meeting of Din l-Art Ħelwaheld last February stated that ‘while our islands are experiencing economic growth, this is accompanied by a marked reduction in the quality of life and general health of citizens. Din l-Art Ħelwa asks Health and Planning Authorities to acknowledge that, with an island that...

13 May

Interview with Din l-Art Helwa president Alex Torpiano

In his first interview since his appointment as Din l-Art Ħelwa president, Prof. Alex Torpiano points his finger squarely at the Planning Authority and at politicians as the biggest culprits of the mess the country is in. Interview in the Sunday Times of Malta by Fiona Galea Debono on 28 April 2019 Malta’s heritage and environment are in an abysmal state and architects...

11 Apr

Where are the buffer zones?, by Joanna Spiteri Staines

The Irrestawra Darek funds scheme introduced by the Planning Authority is an excellent scheme to restore the façades of traditional old buildings. The scheme was met with approval at Din l-Art Ħelwa since it helps home owners financially to restore their façades. It improves streetscapes and  promotes the growing restoration industry. However, there is one overarching, positive outcome, that of conserving our...

26 Mar

A strong planning regulator, by Martin Galea

Prior to the 2013 election, the Labour Party had a framework manifesto it had committed to implement. In the section on environment, the document stated that by giving priority to the environment, the government would improve quality of life by implementing a number of deliverables. These included strengthening the protection of outside development zones, empowering citizens to protect public domain zones,...

16 Mar

Annual General Meeting 2019 – Speech by Maria Grazia Cassar

“……hija l-fehma ta’ dan it- Tribunal li tali rapporti jaqghu taht it-tifsira ta’ dokument pubbliku li huwa fl-interess pubbliku li l-pubbliku jkollu access ghalih tenut kont li l-materja ta’ konservazzjoni hija materija ta’ interess pubbliku.” This is part of the sentence, dated 12th February 2019, by the Appeal Tribunal for Information and Data Protection, wherein Din l-Art Ħelwa was given the...

12 Mar

Half a century later, by Petra Caruana Dingli

Professor Alex Torpiano is the new executive president of Din l-Art Ħelwa. Considering the environmental pressures in Malta today, this is a challenging role to step into. He has plenty of experience, and was the well-respected president of the Kamra tal-Periti until the end of last year. When Din l-Art Ħelwa was first founded by a small group led by Judge...

25 Jan

Proper planning should precede land handouts, by Alex Torpiano

  There has been considerable recent debate on whether the right price is being paid to the state for the disposal of public land, for the Corinthia project, (as well as for the dB Tower project). Irrespective of the value of the land, it is important to also focus on other issues; for example on whether it is sustainable for...