Five Planning Authority board members on Thursday recused themselves from a hearing that is due to decide on a controversial mega hotel and residential complex in Pembroke, citing perceived conflict of interest.

The €250 million db project will see the construction of a 12-storey hotel and two 17- and 18-storey residential towers on the former ITS site. 

PA chairman Vince Cassar, Environmental Resources Authority chairman Victor Axiak, Joseph Brincat and NGO representative Annick Bonello sent a note to the board saying that although they believed they could decide on the matter, they had decided to withdraw from the hearing anyway. Lawyer Chris Cilia recused himself over a potential professional conflict.  

The board meeting is being chaired by Martin Camilleri. The PA board usually has 11 members, including the chair. Following the recusal, the remaining board members amount to six. A board meeting requires a quorum of seven members, but the representative of the Pembroke local council will be the seventh board member at the hearing. 

They will decide on a controversial project dating back years.  

It was actually approved in a sitting in 2018 but was sent back to the drawing board in 2019 after a court found that Matthew Pace, one of the authority's members who voted in favour of the project, had a potential financial interest in it being approved. 

This application was later withdrawn and the development was downscaled to 31 floors in new plans submitted last year, with the developers saying they had listened to the complaints and acted on them by revising the original plans and downscaling the project.

The hearing is ongoing and this report will be updated periodically. 

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