The owner of a Gozitan hotel has been left perplexed after being told by Planning Authority officials that a new mural painted on one of the hotel’s inner walls must be removed.
Patricia and Giuseppe Piazzi, the owners of the Thirthyseven Home Hotel explained to Lovin Malta how they had commissioned artist James Micallef Grimaud to paint a mural on one of the hotel’s internal walls.
“We got the idea a few years ago because we felt that the white wall was very ugly and we thought it would be a good idea to put some art instead. We honestly thought it could start a fad and encourage people to do something similar with their walls,” Patricia Piazzi told Lovin Malta.
She said the couple had approached Micallef Grimaud, who after visiting the site and inspecting the roughly 85 sq.m. wall, proposed a mural of flying flamingos.
“He came up with this amazing idea of painting flying flamingos…we actually love Flamingos and thought the idea made a lot of sense.”
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Work on the wall started last Monday and was due to be completed today. “James has been up on a cherry picker for eight hours a day for the past week,” Piazzi explained, adding that the mural was almost complete.
“Then, out of the blue, we got a visit from two people who claimed to work for the Planning Authority, who told us they had received complaints and that we needed to remove the mural…they said they had come to tell us that we need to stop what we’re doing, or else they’d be obliged to give us an enforcement notice.”
She said the officials were initially unable to tell her which regulations had been broken, but later sent a text message, telling her that she had breached the provisions of a legal notice 211 of 2016. They did not specify exactly which provisions had been breached.
The officials went again today but could not tell her exactly what the rules they were breaching.
Piazzi has now been left in a state of uncertainty. On the one hand, she accepts that regulations must be abided by, but she also hasn’t been told what exactly she has done wrong or what her rights are.
Her experience raises a number of questions about the clarity with which the Planning Authority informs individuals about breaches to planning regulations, their rights in such instances and how to proceed.
Lovin Malta has reached out to the Planning Authority for clarification about which regulations apply in such situations.
Would you like to see murals replace plain white walls?