Plans for Chinese embassy on 19,000 sqm site presented

Despite being 280 metres from a special area of conservation, parts of the embassy will rise to five floors  

A planning application has been presented on a large 19,000 sqm site of woodland in Pembroke to make way for an enormous Chinese embassy.

In the application presented, the applicants already claim full ownership of the site. 

The site along Suffolk Street is in the immediate vicinity of the Luxol ground and a residential area, but is also 280m away from a special area of conservation.

The embassy is located 36m from the historic Australia Hall, a property passed on to the Labour Party by the same Labour administration in the 1970s in the form of compensation for land the party owned in Marsa that was taken by the government for the Malta Shipbuilding complex.

Upon re-election in 2013, the Labour administration stopped a Lands Authority court action started under the previous Nationalist administration to take back Australia Hall in the hands of the State. The Labour Party proceeded to sell the building to furniture manufacturers Fino, which last year also presented development plans for the area.

In a local plan approved by the government in 2006, the area now earmarked for an embassy, was allocated for the development of three-storey high maisonettes and flats on the condition that mature trees found in the area are safeguarded.  

Parts of the embassy will rise to five floors according to the planning application.

The process to locate the Chinese embassy in Pembroke had started in January 2012 when amendments for the local plan were issued for public consultation and finalised on 15 November 2012, when the amendment was approved by the MEPA board. 

The amendment deemed the site as being suitable for the development of an embassy, as it is located within extensive landscaped open areas and directly adjacent to a planned road that is to link Regional Road with Pembroke.

In 2014, parliament approved a resolution through which Chinese government was set to pay €7,880,000 to acquire an 11,115 square-metre site in Suffolk Street, Pembroke, for the construction of a new embassy.