A video of Balluta landmark St. Ignatius Villa being torn down was shared this morning, and has already been viewed more than 4,000 times.
On Sunday morning, Sliema Heritage Society shared a Facebook post detailing the villa’s history, demanding the immediate action of the authorities and the police. In the post, St. Ignatius Villa was described as not only “most likely the first pseudo-Gothic building in the Maltese islands”, but also the first residence in the area.
All the way back in 1839, the villa was already mentioned as a landmark building. Located in St. Julian’s Scicluna Street, St. Ignatius Villa, or Bel-Vedere (the original name which it was still referred to as by some locals) formed part of a larger property. This property once housed Malta’s first Jesuit College.
The dismantling of the villa recently rose to notoriety when it emerged that there was no apparent formal planning application surrounding the project.
Even though Sliema residents – along with Din L-Art Ħelwa – appealed to legally protect the villa (much like the front of the old college was scheduled for protection), this request has clearly been unsuccessful.
On Saturday morning, workers were seen dismantling parts of the building. This morning, the villa’s iconic corner balcony was pulled down. A video of the entire thing was filmed by Edward Said, who expressed his disapproval as the balcony was torn down.
“This is Malta 2017, shameful,” Said commented. “Our cultural heritage is being destroyed without permission.” At one point, the camera pans to the left, revealing a worker without a hard hat looking on.
The video has already been shared over 50 times, and attracted dozens of enraged comments.