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Conservation order for ancient arch

Mepa has issued an emergency conservation order for an ancient arch which stands in the midst of modern building at Msida Road, close to Rue d-Argens, Gzira.

The Authority said it believes that the property is in danger of damage or collapse.

It said the structure is to be considered as a Grade 2 scheduled property. The owner is required, within two months, to submit a Restoration Method Statement to Mepa in order to repair the parts of the property that are damaged or may be in a poor structural condition. The repairs are to be carried out within six months. 

The destruction, damage, development, dumping or movement of material, removal of stones or alterations within the property is prohibited.

Known to some as Sliema Gate, the arch was built in 1796 when the road from Msida to Sliema was widened on the initiative of Fra Nicolaus Butius, as can be read from the now severely eroded inscription.

The archway features with the coat-of-arms of the Testaferrata family, owners of the surrounding estates. 

The Sliema Historical Society has been heading calls for the restoration of the arch.

Resources Minister George Pullicino said that since the arch is in private hands, it is not a case of the ministry restoring the structure itself. The ministry, however, insisted on the issue of the conservaton order. 

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