The first social housing project in the Government’s €100 million programme has started in Siġġiewi according to plans drafted in 2006.
However, the Planning Authority has just approved amendments that, among other things, will permit that the building of 84 apartments, instead of 80. The project’s architect Edward Bencini told tvm.com.mt that the development is being limited because, according to the local plan, the project could have included more than 120 apartments.
Excavation work has started on an area of 4,000 square metres at a residential zone in Siġġiewi for a block of social residences with an investment of around six million euro. The project will not only include 84 apartments, but also other facilities for the community including a childcare centre and more than 100 spaces for parking.
Architect Edward Bencini said that instead of an apartments block, the area is intended to serve the needs of a small community with residents of all ages. The project will also have apartments for elderly persons, designed for an independent life.
“”We looked at the site’s potential and reasoned that the area is developed into two isolated blocks, with the surrounding space utilized so that there will be transparency, connections between the area’s roads, and pedestrian penetrations for the public”.
The Siġġiewi Local Council, however, considers this development as exaggerated and launched a petition calling for the reduction of the apartments and the increase of facilities and public spaces for the locality’s community. Mayor Alexia Psaila Zammit said the Council presented its objections even on the approved amendments.
Architect Bencini said that if they moved forward with the local plan, the project could have been bigger. “We could have started with the dividing wall at Imdina Road till that of Zammit Road, packed with 5-metres facades, one near the other and construct a three-storey basement, and penthouse, and so we would include 120 apartments or more”.
The project is expected to accommodate around 200 residents when it is completed in two and a half years’ time.