An application to start large-scale excavation works at the former ITS site in Pembroke has drawn sharp objections from three local councils, 10 NGOs and countless residents in the town.

In a statement issued on Saturday, activist group Moviment Graffitti urged people to lend their voice to opposition to the db Group’s plans by filing an objection with the Planning Authority.

Graffitti accused db Group of trying to get its project through the planning process by breaking it up into several parts, making it harder for planners and the public to evaluate plans in full.

The db Group’s €300 million City Centre plans were thrown out by a court last month, which ruled that a planning permit for the massive mixed-use development planned for St George’s Bay was null and void.

A court found that the Planning Tribunal which approved the plans featured a member, Matthew Pace, who stood to gain financially from the project through his ownership of a real estate firm.

It was ruling on an appeal filed and funded by a variety of NGOs, citizens and local councils.

Weeks later, db Group said that it would be reactivating its permit process for the project, with some changes to the original plans. It has since filed an application to start demolition and excavation works at the site.

In its statement, Graffitti argued that the db Group’s excavation plans are in contempt of the court’s ruling and an attempt to circumvent that judgement.

“It is illogical to request a permit for excavation in relation to a project for which there is no permit in hand,” Graffitti argued.

“Such an application can mean only two things: that the approval of the whole project is a foregone conclusion, thus admitting that the planning system is a farce, or that there is the risk of excavations taking place without the project being eventually approved, leaving a massive hole and a site ruined beyond repair. It is one way or the other”.

The statement was endorsed by Pembroke, St Julian’s and Swieqi local councils as well as by the following NGOs: Archaeological Society of Malta, Bicycle Advocacy Group, BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Isles of the Left, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta and Ramblers Association.

Objectors have until August 26 to make their arguments against the excavation plans to the Planning Authority, either directly or through the Moviment Graffitti website.