A study carried out over the last five years by the Forum for the Regeneration of Floriana, has identified the embellishment of St Anne Street and accommodation for Floriana residents as the two main themes for the identity of this suburb to once again be revived.
Thousands of vehicles pass through St Anne’s street daily – considered by Floriana residents as the showcase of their town. Meanwhile, many acknowledge that the covered arches which distinguish this main road could have a greater potential. Floriana Mayor, Davina Sammut Hili, said that the vision of the council is for this road to be changed into a garden which will link with the green areas for which this suburb is renowned.
“The vision of the council is for St Anne’s street to be pedestrianised. A tunnel will be built so that the traffic will be deviated from there and St Anne Street can be enjoyed by the people who visit it,” said the Mayor.
The Mayor said that meetings are taking place with the Transport and Infrastructure Minister on this issue.
The embellishment project was among the proposals which were put forward by the Forum for the regeneration of Floriana. The Forum secretary Chris Vella said that they have completed their work by presenting their recommendations which emerged from the studies carried out among the Floriana residents to the council.
“We proposed for St Anne’s street to be embellished, so that those going in and out of Floriana will find a street which is alive. Shops which are open, benches, and an artisan market which these covered arches can offer as a spectacle for passersby,” said Mr Vella.
Mr Vella said the the study has also identified the housing problem. “We proposed going up more floors at housing estates, on the apartment blocks, and maybe find some places which have been abandoned which the Government can purchase to build alternative housing for residents.”
The Mayor appealed for the Government to make more homes accessible to Floriana residents, as many are being forced out of the town. “We are asking the Planning Authority not to issue any more permits for offices, guest houses and boutique hotels, because if more homes are gong to be converted into offices, this locality will die out. We are asking for the properties to remain residential because we want this town to remain alive.”
The Mayor and Mr Vella acknowledged that the Floriana community is adapting itself to an increase in foreign residents. Among other things it is organising are activities with local organisations, including under the covered arches where there can be an exchange of different cultures and experiences.