Several voluntary organisations have joined forces with the Sliema council to appeal a planning authority decision to allow the building of 15 apartments, two penthouses and more than 50 underground parking spaces in Hughes Hallet Street, Sliema.
The development, they said, would see the destruction of three art deco houses of architectural value.
Edward Said from the Sliema Heritage Society compared the different treatment reserved to old houses in Mdina and Sliema. Mdina houses were protected, but the latter were not.
Councillors Michael Briguglio and Paul Radmilli said the council met to discuss the decision this week and agreed to oppose it.
However, the council wanted to open a dialogue with the developers to encourage them to retain the façade. Should this be done, the project would be acceptable to the council.
Mr Said, together with the other opponents, who included Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar andDin l-Art Ħelwa, said they would not appeal the decision if the façade was retained.
Mr Said pointed out that cases where an application for development raised questions about the cultural heritage of the building should automatically be referred to the Superintendent for Cultural Heritage. This had not been done in this case.