Government’s proposal (one of three proposals) to offer the former Medical School at St Luke’s Hospital in lieu of the proposal to extend St Augustine’s College at Pieta is a sensible proposal.
When MEPA refused an application to extend St Augustine’s College through the construction of a Primary School on its grounds, in an area previously forming part of gardens in an Urban Conservation Area I had written an article entitled Enough space exists for schools. This was published in The Times on the 11 February 2012 and is also available on this blog.
In that article I had suggested that rather than developing virgin land Govenrment should enter into an agreement with Church Schools such that where possible use of existing school buildings currently under-utilised could be made. This is a win-win situation.
In fact I had then stated that : “ ………….. rather than developing extensions incompatible with existing residential areas or, worse, developing virgin land, a possible solution to the expansion requirements of schools such as St Augustine in Pietà would be to enter into an agreement with the state to ensure better utilisation of the buildings used as state primary/secondary schools where this is possible. If we agree that more than enough land has been developed in Malta, the redevelopment of some of these sites could be an option worth considering as an alternative to the development of virgin sites and/or the overdevelopment of other sites.”
The proposal made by Government for the possible utilisation of the former Medical school is compatible with principles of good administration and is to be applauded. Irrespective of whether an agreement is reached or not.
This is the way forward. We cannot build more land, if we can avoid it. Using already committed land is the best way forward. The proposal to use the former Medical school is clear proof that it is possible to find solutions which do not sacrifice more virgin land. In addition such a solution will not create more problems for residents.