Labour MP Oliver Scicluna has called on the government to oblige owners of abandoned buildings to upkeep them by law.
Scicluna posted a few photos of abandoned buildings he encountered while conducting house visits in Cottonera, stating he is noticing several such buildings while campaigning.
“They undoubtedly create excess anxiety among neighbours,” he said, warning that they cause infrastructural damage to neighbouring buildings, and attract squatters as well as rats.
“The majority of these buildings are privately owned and while I understand that the state cannot interfere in private dealings, I believe it must oblige owners of buildings to upkeep them.”
Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia recently confirmed that he is working on Malta’s first aesthetics policy to guide the construction of buildings, including their shape and colour.
“I’m not an architect myself but the Chamber of Architects and private architects have told me that buildings which were deservedly criticised in the media could have been built differently and would have got brownie points.”
While he didn’t confirm whether this policy will address the problem of abandoned buildings, it’s certainly an issue the government should start addressing seriously.
American travel blogger Matthew Kepnes, known as Nomadic Matt, flagged this problem perfectly in a blogpost about the island last year.
“As I stood wide-eyed, with one ear listening for a car sneaking up behind me, it often felt as if Malta was only half-loved,” he wrote.
“For all the renovated houses and mansions brought back to their historic glory, there were more decrepit and boarded-up ones, sometimes taking up whole blocks.”
“For every beautiful garden and restored square, there seemed to be an equally run-down one. It was as if half the island quickly left and the other half, busy with preservation, was just waiting for them to come back to fix their share up.”
Do you agree with Oliver Scicluna’s proposal?