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WATCH: Environment Minister Suggests Radical But Painful Solution For Malta’s ‘Pencil Building’ Problem 

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Eyesore ‘pencil buildings’ which jar with their surroundings have become part of the Maltese landscape, and Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia has now proposed a radical but painful potential solution.

Interviewed by Keith Demicoli on Xarabank last night, Farrugia was shown photos of tall blocks of apartments jammed between more traditional Maltese buildings and agreed that “no one enjoys” seeing such development.

He proposed for discussion the launch of a comprehensive development plan, which would mean that people will only be able to add more storeys to their buildings if the entire street agrees to do so too.

“I’d like to see a more mature discussion about development in this country, not just people saying how ugly buildings are but finding out ways to change the situation,” he said.

“A comprehensive development plan would be easier said than done because there will be some families who won’t want or cannot afford to add more storeys to their apartments and other houses which will be subject to inheritance disputes,” he noted.

“It would mean that a father who wants to build his son an apartment so that he doesn’t have to take out a home loan when he grows up will have to wait years and years for everyone in his street to reach an agreement.”

“However, these are the arguments we must listen to. I’m sure the Maltese people watching us are questioning how it can be that permits are granted to thee kind of developments and I receive many photos of these kinds of buildings from all angles, but these are the decisions the country must take.”

“We’re reforming the SPED [Strategic Plan for the Environment and Development] and trying to find a solution that will ensure people have a right to develop their land without uglifying the country. It’s a balance that my colleagues and I must strive for every day, and potential solutions will cause a lot of pain if implemented.”

Do you agree with this proposal for urban development? 

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Tim is interested in the rapid evolution of human society brought about by technological advances. He’s passionate about justice, human rights and cutting-edge political debates. You can follow him on Twitter at @timdiacono or reach out to him at [email protected]

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