The Environment and Resources Authority has given its approval to a proposal to build a 33-floor tower in Paceville.

ERA clearance means the project, which is led by Paul Xuereb of PX Lettings with Christian Spiteri as the architect, has cleared a significant regulatory hurdle in its bid to obtain planning permission. 

A PA permit to demolish existing buildings and excavate the area in Triq Santu Wistin and Triq Sant Andrija (PA 02470/16) is pending with another related permit (PA 06097/20) listed as being in its screening stage. 

ERA said it based its decision on an Environmental Impact Assessment submitted on October 13 as well as comments received from the public during a 30-day public consultation period.

First announced publicly in 2018, the proposed tower will include office space, apartments and restaurants as well as underground parking facilities. 

Impacts of project

ERA said that the impacts and risks during the construction phase identified in an Environmental Impact Assessment report were considered to be of low adverse significance.  Environmental impacts would be further mitigated as long as works adhered to regulations, it said.

Environmental impacts and risks associated with the operational phase were also considered to be of low adverse significance.

The EIA said that while the tower would shade surrounding areas and lead to more adverse impacts in terms of visual amenity, this stemmed from the inherent nature of the development. 

The St Julian's area is one of a select number of areas in the country where high-rise developments are permitted. 

In its statement, ERA said that other issues related to emissions caused by additional traffic and microclimate changes that would impact pedestrian comfort were deemed to be of minor significance. 

Mitigations measures

Mitigation measures, it said, include the implementation of a green travel plan, aimed at reducing traffic generation, and the carrying out of a wind study for the fine-tuning of the final design of the proposed tower, to avoid deterioration of the wind microclimate. 

The green travel plan, microclimate and waste management are to be considered as reserved matters. 

ERA said it reached its conclusion on the understanding that stringent mitigation measures and pre-emptive safeguards will be implemented throughout both the construction and operation of the development. 

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