Planning process is a game that benefits developers, PD MP implies

PD MP Godfrey Farrugia slams the planning process, accusing the Authority of going ahead with the application of ITS project despite the fact that the Auditor General's investigations on how the land was transferred is still ongoing

The Planning Authority (PA) rejects applications in order to look good, only for the Board of Appeals to go ahead and approve them, Democratic Party (PD) MP Godfrey Farrugia said.

"That which the PA does not approve in order to sometimes not look bad, the Board of Appeals goes on to approve."

Speaking on Parliament on Tuesday, Farrugia highlighted a number of issues with the proposed ITS project which seeks to develop hotels and luxury apartments in the area.

The application process of the proposed ITS development project is going ahead despite the fact that investigations as to how the public land was transferred are still underway, he said.

Investigations on the way that public land was handed over to db group are still ongoing, Farrugia said, adding that the Planning Authority (PA) is not recognising this fact, since it welcomed the application nonetheless.

Farrugia further noted that the application is being done without a master-plan, which means that the PA is considering developments in the areas of Pembroke and St. Julians in a “fragmented” way. The projects are being done “without professional guidelines” and “without considering the holistic impacts in a genuine and scientific way.”

The “mega-project”, which seeks to develop hotels and luxury apartments in the area, is being undertaken with the absence of a development brief, Farrugia said, and therefore does not comply with the procedures of best practice and robs members of the public from having a consultation on the matter.

“In the past few months, there were already announcements for the selling of apartments when this project has not even been approved for building,” he said, explaining that while there is nothing wrong with advertising, it does not look good when a project does not have a permit.

Moreover, the project does not take public interest into consideration, he said. Clarifying that he is not against high-rise buildings, Farrugia said that development should be done thoughtfully and complement the character of the Maltese environment.

“Economic growth is not directly proportional to quality of life,” he said.