The Paola Parish of Christ the King will be amending its planning application for a small cafeteria on the church roof to specify that no food can be cooked on the premises.

Following discussions between the Archdiocese of Malta and parish priest Fr Marc André Camilleri, it was agreed that instead of a 4D licence, the parish would seek a 4C licence which does not permit cooking to take place on the premises. 

A spokesperson for the Archdiocese said: “There was never any intention to operate a restaurant on the roof of the parish church but we agreed it would be prudent for the parish to amend its application to eliminate further conjecture, speculation and misconceptions.

“The parish priest had already made it clear in the planning application notice attached to the church, and in a statement issued yesterday, that the plans were restricted to opening a small cafeteria on the parish roof, but by amending the application he is seeking to eliminate any lingering doubt.”

The proposed cafeteria, which forms part of a larger project comprising a museum and interpretation centre, would operate within an existing structure inside one of the belfries. No exterior construction will take place, while free-standing tables and chairs will be placed outdoors behind the church’s high balustrades in accordance with the original application.

There will be no adverse impact on the aesthetic value of the church since the cafeteria area will not be visible from street level.

The project, which aims to raise much-needed funds for costly restoration works being undertaken at the church and to support pastoral work, is subject to Planning Authority approval though it is pertinent to note that similar initiatives have been undertaken at other churches abroad including St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.