The planning authority this afternoon approved the development of a 15-floor mega development being proposed on the Xenia ridge in Mistra.

The development was opposed by environmental NGOs which called for the revocation of the outline permit, issued in 2009, for the redevelopment of Mistra village into a number of apartment blocks.

Nationalist Party's representative Ryan Callus presented a motion for the lowering of the 15-floor building during the hearing. The motion was seconded by board member Alex Vella.

Transport Malta came under attack for changing its opposition to the project due to its traffic impact.

The authority originally objected but then changed its position saying the traffic situation was already compromised.

Earlier, Mepa chairman Vince Cassar outrightly rejected the environmental NGOs call for the revocation of the outline permit saying there was no basis for their call.

Asked by representatives of Din l-Art Helwa and Flimkien Ghal Ambjent Ahjar to explain his decision, Mr Cassar refused and said that he had already decided about this.

The architect of the developers - Xemxija Holdings - said that the developers had scaled down the project by 20 per cent and it would now consist of 744 apartments instead of the original 992.

Environmental groups called for a refusal of the permit due to its adverse environmental impact on the area.

However, the planning directorate at Mepa recommended approval.

The majority shareholders behind this development are from Kuwait.

In a statement, Mepa said that during the processing and evaluation of this full development planning application, the Planning Directorate and the deciding body had to be guided by the planning parameters established in May 2008, when the authority had granted the outline development permit.