Undeclared plans of Cold War facility underneath St. George’s Barracks revealed – NGOs request Emergency Conservation Order

Undeclared plans of Cold War facility underneath St. George’s Barracks revealed – NGOs request Emergency Conservation Order

Following the Planning Authority’s approval of the db Group project in St. George’s Bay last year, three local councils, several NGOs and residents came together to appeal the decision.

Now plans and evidence have come to light showing the existence of an underground Cold War bunker created to house a sub-station in the 1950s, and an engine room dating from the 1930s (see attachments). These features are of considerable significance from an industrial heritage as well as military point of view, however they have not received any mention in the heritage assessment reports commissioned by the developer. Both features would be totally obliterated if the project is allowed to go ahead, along with the earliest example of British period barrack blocks in Malta. The NGOs ask how is it possible that the Cold War bunker and other heritage features have been completely overlooked during the planning application process which was supposed to be thorough and extensive.

Eight NGOs state: “We cannot understand how such features have failed to show up on any of the studies presented to the public and supposedly scrutinised by the Planning Authority. It shows that the public has no one to turn to for effective assessment of applications. This smacks of a shoddy and negligent approach where all is fast-tracked and heritage is ignored so that it can more easily be destroyed. We are requesting the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage to issue an Emergency Conservation Order on the heritage features on site and to carry out a proper assessment to save what can still be saved.”

The eight organisations endorsing this Press Statement are:
Din l-Art Ħelwa, Ramblers’ Association of Malta, BirdLife Malta, Friends of the Earth Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Bicycle Advocacy Group and Żminijietna – Voice of the Left


 

Żvelati pjanti mhux iddikjarati ta’ faċitilità ta’ zmien il-Gwerra l-Bierda taħt il-Kwartieri ta’ San Ġorġ – NGOs jitolbuEmergency Conservation Order

Wara li s-sena l-oħra, l-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar approvat il-proġett tad-db Group fil-Bajja ta’ San Ġorġ, tliet kunsilli lokali, diversi NGOs u residenti ingħaqdu flimkien biex jappellaw id-deċiżjoni.

Issa għadhom kemm instabu pjanti u evidenza li juru l-eżistenza ta’ bunker ta’ żmien il-Gwerra Bierda li kien ikkrejat biex issir sub-station fis-snin 50, flimkien ma’ engine room tat-tletinijiet (ara d-dokumenti annessi).

Dawn il-karatteristiċi huma ta’ valur sostanzjali mil-lat ta’ wirt industrijali kif ukoll militari għalkemm lanqas biss ġew imsemmija fil-heritage assessment reports ikkummissjonati mill-iżviluppatur. Jekk il-proġett jitħalla jibqa’ għaddej, dawn iż-żewġ karatteristiċi, flimkien mal-aktar eżempji bikrin ta’ kwartieri militari ta’ żmien l-Ingliżi, se jinqerdu. L-NGOs jistaqsu kif inhu possibbli li bunker ta’ żmien il-Gwerra Bierda u karatteristiċi oħra ta’ wirt storiku ġew totalment injorati waqt il-proċess tal-applikazzjoni tal-ippjanar, li suppost kellha ssir bir-reqqa u b’mod estensiv.

Tmien għaqdiet mhux governattivi jgħidu: “Ma nistgħux nifhmu kif dawn il-karatteristiċi naqsu milli jidhru fi kwalunkwe studju li ġie ppreżentat lill-pubbliku u li suppost ġie skrutinizzat mill-Awtorità tal-Ippjanar. Dan juri li l-pubbliku m’għandux fuq min idur għal evalwazzjoni effettiva tal-applikazzjonijiet. L-impressjoni li qed tingħata hija ta’ approċċ negliġenti u ta’ traskuraġni fejn kollox jgħaddi ta’ malajr malajr u fejn il-wirt storiku jiġi njorat biex b’hekk ikun aktar faċli li jiġi meqrud. Aħna qegħdin nitolbu lis-Sovraintendent għall-Patrimonju Kulturali biex joħroġ Emergency Conservation Order fuq il-karatteristiċi ta’ wirt storiku li jinsabu fuq dan is-sit u biex issir evalwazzjoni xierqa ħalli nkunu nistgħu insalvaw dak li għadu jista’ jiġi salvat”.

It-8 għaqdiet li qed jiffirmaw din l-Istqarrija Stampa huma:
Din l-Art Ħelwa, Ramblers’ Association of Malta, BirdLife Malta, Friends of the Earth Malta, Moviment Graffitti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Bicycle Advocacy Group u Żminijietna – Leħen ix-Xellug