Nine months after being forced to go back to the drawing board and come up with a fresh Paceville master plan, the Planning Authority has refused to say when the revised blueprint is expected to be published.

Launched in September last year, the original document had to be scrapped in the wake of the public outcry against it, as well as allegations of a potential conflict of interest against UK planning firm Mott MacDonald, which was commissioned to draft it.

In December, Parliament’s Environment and Development Planning Committee unanimously agreed on new terms of reference on the strength of the feedback received during the public consultation period.

At the time PA executive chairman Johan Buttigieg told The Sunday Times of Malta that the revised version would be out the following April or May.

The authority is considering various options on the procedure to be adopted for the revisions to the first draft of the plan

However, signs that the plan had been placed on the backburner started emerging soon after, when a January deadline for a public call for the second draft was missed.

In February, this newspaper reported that the revised master plan would not see the light of day before the general election, even though at the time there was no hint that the country would go to the polls much earlier than expected on June 3.

At the time a PA spokesman said the authority was preparing the necessary documentation, in line with established tendering procedures, to be able to continue with the review process.

Nonetheless, the lack of progress registered since then prompted Times of Malta to make fresh enquiries on the timeframes for the publication of the revised master plan - or if it had been shelved.

While not committing itself to any deadline, the planning watchdog confirmed the process was still at embryonic stage with the spokesman saying: “The authority is considering various options on the procedure to be adopted for the revisions to the first draft of the plan.”

The original master plan had initially been in the line of fire when it transpired that Mott MacDonald, who had been commissioned to draft it, was also the leading consultant in the Mercury House towers project, which was still in the pipeline.

Critics based such claims on the fact that the plan sought to shift a proposed plaza from the Mercury House site to St George’s Park, which would have to be sliced and diced to accommodate the new street layout outlined in the plan.

Subsequently, it also transpired that if the plan would drive at least 30 entertainment establishments out of business, and result in the demolition of a number of residences.

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