‘HOUSE OF FOUR WINDS’ TO ACCOMODATE NEW BANK OF VALLETTA OFFICES
Existing eyesore along the bastion to be demolished and replaced with a sensitive architectural development
The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) Board earlier today approved a planning application for the redevelopment of a sensitive two storey office building to accomodate the Bank of Valletta Chairman’s Office at St Michael’s Bastion which is located at the northern end of the Valletta fortifications, adjacent to Hastings Garden.
The development will consist in the demolition of the existing office structures which were added onto the original residence at various stages throughout the whole of the twentieth century. The only one room which survived from the original residence known as the ‘House of Four Winds’, will be retained and incorporated into the new development.
A major benefit attributed with this application is that the existing eyesore which extends over the bastions will finally be removed with the added gain that the bastion area will also be restored to its original state. The new approved development will be setback from the bastions so as not to be seen from street level, while no services are permitted at roof level.
As part of the Planning Gain for this development, the MEPA Board obliged the bank to restore the base of Ponsomby's Column and Lord Spencer's grave which are in the vicinity of the site. During the public meeting, the Bank indicated that it was also considering re-paving the three small piazzas adjacent to the site.
The area around the square base of the monument which is dedicated to Sir Frederick Cavendish Ponsomby, who was governor of Malta between 1827 and 1836, will now become a small public piazza. This monument which included a Doric column 21 meters high topped by a stone funerary urn was damaged by an earthquake in 1856 and then struck by lightning in 1874.