Opposition to DB Group plans to build three towers in Pembroke appears to have been “easily shrugged off”, critics have said, with the project recommended for approval by a Planning Authority case officer.
The Planning Authority board will decide on the group’s application to build its City Centre project at a hearing to be held next week on Thursday, June 10.
The project, already approved by the PA back in 2018, was sent back to the drawing board in 2019 after a court found that one of the PA members who voted in favour of the project, Matthew Pace, had a potential financial interest in it being approved.
DB Group had subsequently reapplied for the project and modified its plans for the area. It is now proposing to build two residential towers of 17 and 18 floors each as well as 12-storey hotel in the area.
Critics, including Pembroke, St Julian’s and Swieqi local councils, several NGOs and thousands of members of the public, say the project would dwarf nearby residential streets, endanger two Natura 2000 sites, a scheduled barracks and scheduled cave and lead to the gradual spillover of Paceville into Pembroke.
They also note that promises to build a tunnel leading to the project, as a way of mitigating traffic flows, do not form part of the project application.
Company CEO Arthur Gauci has said that the company is being singled out for criticism and vehemently denied any interest in obtaining a beach concession for the area. He has argued that the company has scaled down its original plans following criticism and is building much less than it is entitled to.
NGOs urge public to register for PA hearing
In a statement on Saturday, NGOs which oppose the project said it appeared that the PA’s consultation process seemed to be of little use, as the recommendation to approve the project indicated feedback had been “easily shrugged off”.
They highlighted an appeal they have filed against the project’s Environmental Impact Assessment, which they said listed the tunnel proposal as a mitigating factor without considering its negative environmental impacts.
The organisations urged members of the public to register to attend the June 10 PA sitting, which will begin at 10am.
“In 2018, the developer brought his workers to intervene during the meeting in order to fake support for a project that has been opposed by everyone,” they said.
“Thus, it is important that people participate in the sitting and show their anger at the construction of DB’s monster.”
NGOs that signed the statement
2. Din l-Art Ħelwa
3. Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar
4. Friends of the Earth Malta
5. Moviment Graffitti
6. Ramblers Association of Malta
8. Sustainable Build Environment Malta
9. Żminijietna – Voice of the Left
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