Planners refuse to meet the residents on Paceville plan
Developers call for PA to extend consultation period
Updated at 5.45pm with PN statement
The St Julian’s local council has been frustrated by the refusal of the Planning Authority to grant a public meeting to Paceville residents over the proposed master plan.
Mayor Guido Dalli told the Times of Malta the council had asked the PA to hold a meeting with Paceville residents before public consultation on the proposals closes on November 4.
The council, however, was informed yesterday that no such meeting would take place “for the time being”, meaning that those living in the area will not have the chance to express their views.
Moreover, the council was not consulted by the PA prior to the release of the master plan last month and had to approach the authority itself in order to secure a meeting.
“I can’t understand it,” Mr Dalli said. “To draw up a master plan, they must have met with everyone. We would have expected to have been consulted even if our views aren’t taken on board.
“We have nothing against the master plan itself; something had to be done. But the people who still live in the area should be given the opportunity to put their views forward on how to maintain their quality of life in the face of such extensive development.”
Following the PA’s refusal, the mayor said the council would now be holding its own meeting with residents next week, aiming to forward the views expressed to the PA as official submissions before the close of public consultation. The Paceville master plan, which could start to be implemented as soon as next year, envisions a number of high-rise buildings creating a new, “iconic” skyline, new infrastructure, a vast promenade at St George’s Bay and new public spaces dotted around the entertainment district.
But elements of the €300 million plan have already proved controversial. Alternattiva Demokratika deputy chairman Carmel Cacopardo has said the masterplan “makes a mockery” of the Public Domain Act passed earlier this year to ensure public access to the coast.
Similar concerns have been raised by St George’s Park residents, who will see three new towers, rising to 30 storeys, along the adjacent Cresta Quay.
Meanwhile, Front Ħarsien ODZ has criticised the suggestion of land being reclaimed at Portomaso to support further high-rise developments, and called for any reference to land reclamation to be struck out.
Malta Developers Association chairman Sandro Chetcuti has said the plan fails to address the possibility of new projects that could involve existing buildings, concentrating too heavily on nine particular sites.
In a statement this morning, the developers' association said it has asked the Planning Authority to extend the period during which submissions regarding the draft Paceville Master Plan can be made since it is highly detailed and requires more time to be studied.
This request was made following several representations made during meetings with members whose properties could be affected by the proposed masterplan.
The MDA said it understands that its request is going to be favourably considered.
Meeting for entrepreneurs
The GRTU is holding an explanatory meeting about the masterplan for entrepreneurs in the area tomorrow at 3pm at the Vivaldi Hotel, with officials from the Planning Authority.
The organisation has already discussed the masterplan in the Building Industry Consultative Council and has raised a number of concerns. It is also echoing calls for the consultation period to be extended to allow time for the plans to be properly understood.
Consultation period should be extended - PN
The Nationalist Party said it agreed that the consultation period should be extended. It said this period should also include consultation and information meetings with residents who were to be affected by the plan.