The Planning Authority has been considering an development application for what is left of Villa Curmi’s gardens in Żejtun over the last few weeks. The organisation Wirt iż-Żejtun pointed out that the 18th century garden should be protected as a Green Enclave, calling for changes to Cultural Heritage legislation.
In a statement, Wirt iż-Żejtun explained that the building was once home to Dr. Paolo Curmi, one of the mayors of Żejtun in the 1800s. His daughter Ġużeppina was one of the founders of the congregation of the Jesus of Nazareth Sisters, giving the building historical, as well as architectural value.
The NGO said they were among the first to object to the development which is set to destroy what’s left of the once expansive gardens of the Villa, even though it should be protected by the Local Plan for the South of Malta as a ‘Green Enclave’. The Superintendence for Cultural Heritage is also objecting, according to the statement.
Wirt iż-Żejtun went on to elaborate on how the garden has been gradually chipped away bit by bit over the last 60 years. In the 50s, 25th November avenue was built passing through the edge of the garden, and in the 90s part of the garden was sold to a local bank which built a branch there. From that point, the owners have been selling off the land piece by piece “without respect to the historical and architectural value of this home and its garden,” according to the NGO.
At the end of their statement, the NGO called for legislators to change Cultural Heritage Legislation to insist that scheduled property shall not be sold in parts.