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Unrestored Cambridge fort branded ‘a shambles’

Residents in the luxury apartments say the fort is an eyesore. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Residents in the luxury apartments say the fort is an eyesore. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The developer of the luxury Fort Cambridge apartments at Tigné  has reiterated its commitment to restoring the fort after flat owners complained it was an eyesore.

The fort was extensively damaged when the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza hotel was based on the site

A retired couple due to move into their new €600,000 apartment on Tuesday told The Sunday Times that the 19th century fort below their sea-view windows was “a shambles”.

Mr and Ms Camilleri, who did not want their full names published, said they had expected the whole development to be finished by the time they moved in, including the restoration of the fort, which formed part of the developer’s plans.

The Sunday Times visited the site yesterday and found the doors and windows of the dilapidated fort closed off.

There were no visible signs of restoration works taking place.

When contacted, the company behind the project, GAP Developments plc, acknowledged that work on the fort had not progressed beyond clearing the site of previous developments.

It pointed out that Fort Cambridge was extensively damaged when the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Hotel was based on the site.

A restaurant had been built on the fort and later gutted to make space for an outdoor pool, an indoor pool and other hotel facilities, GAP Developments said.

The first part of the restoration process involved demolishing and removing all these structures as well as vegetation, the developer said.

“In the very near future we will embark on the second phase. This will include the preparation of the necessary studies for the tender document... to approve the contractor to execute the said works,” GAP director Paul Attard said.

“As soon as this is finalised, the tender document will be issued and the works will proceed uninterrupted until completion.”

The company did its utmost to keep the fort clean and the restoration would be complete prior to the date stipulated in the agreement with Government, Mr Attard said.

GAP Developments was given 10 years by the Government to complete the restoration of Fort Cambridge.

A Planning Authority permit was awarded in 2010.

Built between 1879 and 1898, the fort was designed to accommodate one of only three 100-tonne guns that were produced by the British Army.

On the official Fort Cambridge website, GAP chairman George Muscat is quoted in October 2009 as saying: “Although the contract with Government stipulates that the restoration has to be complete within a 10-year period, we are doing our utmost to have it restored by the time the project is complete.”

In the same article it is stated that all alien structures forming part of the previous development (Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza Hotel) had already been removed.

In June 2011, timesofmalta.com quoted a GAP Developments spokesman as saying: “We are working in earnest on the restoration of the fort’s battery.

“A tender to this effect will be issued in the coming weeks with an aim to ensure that the works on the restoration of the fort will be complete by the time residents move in.”

pcooke@timesofmalta.com

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