Last Updated on Thursday, 4 June, 2020 at 2:10 pm by Andre Camilleri
The db Group said today that statements made by NGOs and local councils on its revision of plans for its project on the former ITS site in Pembroke contains many inaccuracies.
“It is not true, as the NGOs claim, that the reduction in the size of the tower is ‘slight’”, the group said. “It is now 7 floors less. That’s more than 18% less, the equivalent of a third of the length a football pitch. In addition, the hotel has been reduced by the equivalent of almost three standard floors. Crucially, the entire project is now 19,000 sqm less than permissible by Local Plan. Overall, the developable area has been reduced by 50,000sqm. The height is now comparable, if not less, than similar ones in the vicinity and in other parts of Malta.”
“It is not true, as the NGOs claim, that the project will ‘throw into permanent darkness the thousands of residents living across the road’. The maximum daily increase in shade created by the project on Pembroke will be 90 minutes during some weeks in December, which decreases as the following seasons approach and only on some adjacent residences. In June, for instance, the shading increases by only 30 minutes a day, and again impacting only some residences,” the group said.
“It is not true, as the NGOs claim that with the project ‘Paceville will still invade Pembroke and Swieq’”. Indeed the opposite will be the case. As an upmarket residential, hotel, restaurant and shopping centre it will act as a barrier. It will effectively stop today’s existing incursion of Paceville and its activities into Pembroke.”
“It is not true, as the NGOs claim, that the project is ‘a threat to the two adjacent Natura 2000 sites”. Neither will be touched and comprehensive studies have been carried out during the EIA process which unequivocally deny this,’ the group said.
“It is not true, as the NGOs claim that the project poses a ‘threat’ to Ħarq Ħamiem Cave. For starters, the revised proposal reduces excavation by almost 60,000 cu.m. More importantly, there will be a 24m buffer of undisturbed rock which is equivalent to the height of 8 floors, separating the cave from the development. In addition, only 0.5% of the project buildings, which have also been reduced by 43%, overlap the cave.”
“At the same time, purely on an environmental level,” db Group said what these NGOs are hiding from Pembroke residents are the following: 1) Public areas have been increased by almost 40%. In total, the project will now consist of almost 7,000sqm of public spaces. 2) The db Group has paid €1.5 million for planning gain, potentially benefitting the Pembroke community and those in the vicinity. 3) The publicly-funded Paceville tunnel will ease the traffic in the area and thereby benefit all residents and businesses. Once the tunnel is built, all cars leaving St George’s Bay will be channelled through it. Incidentally, the Pembroke Local Council is in favour of the tunnel, the Group said.
Arthur Gauci, CEO, db Group commented: “We have listened to all the genuine concerns about our proposal and addressed them with concrete and substantial changes. This applies particularly to those expressed by Pembroke residents. Today, the only threat to these residents is not our project but those who want to hide the truth from them.”