Paceville consultants Mott MacDonald paid €307,000 direct order for master plan

A €307,810 direct order was awarded to the two UK consultants for the preparation and finalisation of a new Paceville local plan after the PA contacted nine foreign companies, of which only one submitted a proposal.

Paceville vision: Mott MacDonald’s €307,000 direct order was preceded by a call for expressions of interest
Paceville vision: Mott MacDonald’s €307,000 direct order was preceded by a call for expressions of interest

A €307,810 direct order was awarded to the UK consultants Mott MacDonald and Broadway Maylan for the preparation and finalisation of a new local plan for Paceville, the Planning Authority told MaltaToday.

The Planning Authority initially contacted nine foreign companies for the procurement of this service. Only two expressed an interest to receive the terms of reference, one of which was Mott Macdonald which submitted a proposal.

The procurement was duly endorsed and published in the government gazette.

The two global UK-based consultancies have drafted a master plan for Paceville which also “incorporated” proposals made by landowners and business groups to the government on nine sites earmarked for high-rise development, including a land reclamation proposal from the Tumas Group.  

The Paceville master plan also proposes transport solutions, public pathways and open spaces in the area and integrates 18 high-rise towers in the landscape. 

While Mott MacDonald’s mission statement affirms its commitment to “respect the environment and the communities in which it works”, the PA has so far been criticised by the St Julian’s local council for failing to consult Paceville and St Julian’s residents when the master plan was being drafted – indeed Mott MacDonald barely mentions the community living in Paceville.

The PA has insisted that residents will have the opportunity to present their proposals during the public consultation stage, which has been extended by another three weeks, and during the Strategic Environment Assessment of the plan, which also includes public consultation.

Asked whether the consultants are contractually bound not to provide advice to any of the developers in the area covered by the master plan, the PA spokesperson replied that “confidentiality and ethical conduct of the parties is regulated by a consultancy agreement signed with Mott MacDonald”. 

Mott MacDonald has a long history of advising public authorities in Malta, having carried out the studies on wind energy generation in Malta and proposing the Sikka l-Bajda site for the development of an offshore wind farm which was shelved by the present administration.

In 2011 it was appointed to carry out a preliminary analysis of road tunnel link options between Malta and Gozo, which concluded that a detailed geological and geotechnical investigation was required to determine the optimum tunnel alignment.

Mott MacDonald was also part of a consortium that was awarded the rights to develop White Rocks into a sports village by the previous administration. However the project did not materialise with former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi retracting from the project by saying that his government “was not prepared to go ahead with the agreement at all costs”.

Mott MacDonald boasts of being the first consultancy firm to achieve certification to the new anti-bribery management system standard, BS10500. In 2008 it was accused of having paid commissions to former senior officials of an $8bn (£5.1bn) hydroelectric project in the southern African state of Lesotho over a period of six years in the 1990s. But the UK’s Serious Fraud Office concluded that it could not proceed with a formal investigation into Mott MacDonald, as there was “no realistic prospect of a conviction”.

Mott MacDonald denied the charges insisting that it has never been accused of corruption by any authority in Lesotho.

Architectcs Broadway Maylan’s portfolio includes the grandiose 9,000 seat National Gymnastic Arena in Baku, Azerbaijan, a Carrefour shopping centre in Majorca, a headquarters for the Church of Scientology in Birmingham and a $100m cruise terminal in Miami.

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