Chamber of Architects president Andre Pizzuto has confirmed to this website that various architects involved in developments in the buffer zone of Ggantija Temples are under active investigation by the chamber. The chamber – better known by its Maltese name, Kamra tal-Periti – has a regulatory role in law, and its investigations in these cases are being conducted on the back of a directive it issued a year ago.

The directive held that any developments in the buffer zone of Neolithic temples have to be “in proportion” to the surroundings in terms of height and massing. It also made certain projects a form of professional misconduct – development that would “alter the physical, visual or environmental integrity of the megalithic temples, their buffer zones and surrounding landscape” as well as “alter the views or vistas of and from the megalithic temples”.

A finding of professional misconduct could lead to a sanction ranging from admonishment to revocation of warrant.

This website asked Pizzuto whether the architects featured in this article – see below – are all under investigation. He answered that he could not confirm, or go into, any names or specifics to protect the integrity of the chamber’s investigations.

The six cases featured below either have significant impact – whether in terms of precedent or standalone impact – on the character, skyline, and streetscapes of the Ggantija Temples buffer zone, or other issues at play. There are being presented here in an infographic, and tagged with letters from A to F – this tag is then used below for an explanation of each development’s details, current status and any issues if relevant. 

The Ggantija buffer zone and the six cases of impactful development – click on infographic to enlarge


Planning Authority Application Reference: PA/08765/20

Architect: Deborah Busuttil

Case status: Approved by Environmental and Planning Review Tribunal

Issues and current status: False streetscape elevation. Legal proceedings for revocation of permit are due to be heard in the next few weeks.  


Planning Authority Application Reference: PA/05562/21

Architect: Gordon Vella

Case status: permit delivered in early February

Issues and current status: This development of a four-storey block of flats would set a dangerous precedent, and four NGOs are trying to collect funds for an appeal against the permit. Overturning this development in court is crucial to protecting Ggantija Temples from deleteriousness of cumulative development. Grounds of appeal are strong. Donation target is €2,500, please click on the link at the bottom of this page to donate – the link will take you to the donation page of the NGO Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar


Planning Authority Application Reference: PA/04782/22

Architect: Godwin Sultana

Case status: Proposed five-storey block of flats. Awaiting recommendation from Planning Directorate


Planning Authority Application Reference: PA/00570/21

Architect: Samuel Formosa

Case status: Permit revoked by the Planning Board.

Issues and current status: The planning permit was revoked by the Planning Board last Thursday. But in a further decision that has caused consternation, the board sent the development back for reassessment. In so doing, the board spared the developer from having to put in a fresh application, and it acted beyond its powers – the law only allows the board to revoke or modify the permit – something that is a form of abuse of power. It is also ultra vires, a legal concept that refers to an authority (whether it is a court or administrative body) that takes a decision that goes beyond the powers vested in it in law. There is an ongoing discussion among NGOs about taking further legal action to get the part of the decision on sending case for reassessment to be challenged and banished.  


Planning Authority Application Reference: PA/04352/21

Architect: Alexander Bigeni

Case Status: Proposed five-storey block of flats. Awaiting recommendation from Planning Directorate

Editorial update on morning of 14 March 2024: The applicant has withdrawn this application. 


Planning Authority Application Reference: PA/08845/21

Architect: Cornelia Tabone

Issues and case status: Proposed four-storey block of flats. This website revealed that one of the photo-montages in misleading, but the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage has failed to reply to a question about this point. The architectural drawings have since been changed, the building's height reduced from five to four storeys in new plans put in last January. Awaiting recommendation from Planning Directorate.

Editorial update on morning of 12 March. Cornelia Tabone is no longer the architect of this project. The new project architect, whose name appeared on the Planning Authority Case Details webpage this morning, is Alexander Bigeni.

Impact of development that four NGOs are appealing against – please click on the button in the box below to donate

Our Heritage Needs You

Donate to the NGOs legal appeal by clicking on the button below, and then click to donate to the channel named "APPEAL against flats ruining Xaghra Windmill/Ggantija Setting", and finally click on the Buy button to donate.