Updated | ‘No conflicts of interest’ for Paceville masterplan consultants

Parliamentary secretary Deborah Schembri denies PN MP Marthese Portelli's suggestions that consultants Mott MacDonald and Broadway Maylan could have had a conflict of interest when drafting a masterplan for Paceville

Public consultation on the Paceville masterplan is ongoing until 25 November.
Public consultation on the Paceville masterplan is ongoing until 25 November.

Parliamentary secretary for planning Deborah Schembri has vehemently suggestions that the British consulting firms who drafted the Planning Authority’s masterplan for Paceville had some sort of conflict of interest.

Shadow environment minister Marthese Portelli had earlier questioned whether Mott MacDonald and Broadway Maylan are also working for developers who will stand to profit from the regeneration of Paceville.

“The government will pay through its nose to expropriate private properties and convert them into open spaces, but charge peanuts when leasing out land to developers,” Portelli said during a parliamentary debate on the 2017 Budget estimates on the Office of the Prime Minister.“Could we not have a more balanced masterplan?”

However, Schembri said that the Planning Authority had contracted foreign consulting firms specifically to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

“This is the first ever masterplan for a town in Malta, and it takes everything – from infrastructure to transport – into consideration,” she said. “Paceville is a shame to our youth, who spend their weekends at a run-down town. Public consultation on it is ongoing and the government is listening to the concerns of people and businesses, and will take everything into account before taking a final decision.

In her speech, Marthese Portelli also suggested that the masterplan be “shredded and sent back to the drawing board”, warning that it fails to address the fate of the residents and businesses who will have to be evacuated as a result of development.

She warned that the masterplan envisages the demolition of certain homes and businesses, some of whom have been operating for several years.

“How, when, and by how much will these businesses be compensated? What will they do with their bank loans, and what will happen to their workers?” she questioned. “A truly pro-business government is one that creates a level playing field that is accessible to everyone from the same entrance.”