Adrian Delia will support db project if it falls within planning rules

Opposition leader Adrian Delia has insisted the Nationalist Party will be in favour of any project that falls within planning parameters and this direction is clear for the party’s representative on the planning board 

Adrian Delia was interviewed by Reno Bugeja on Dissett
Adrian Delia was interviewed by Reno Bugeja on Dissett

Adrian Delia has insisted that on planning issues his stand on individual projects will depend on whether they fall within existing rules.

“Every project has to be determined on the basis of planning rules. If a project falls within the rules than the answer is yes, if not, the answer is no,” the Nationalist Party leader said when asked whether he was in favour of the db Group project on the ITS land.

Delia was fielding questions from journalist Reno Bugeja on TVM’s Dissett, on Tuesday night.

The PN leader stuck to the same line when asked repeatedly whether he agreed with the project as proposed by the developers.

This was Delia’s first public reaction to the project that includes a 37-storey residential tower and a 17-storey hotel, casino and commercial complex.

Asked how the PN’s representative on the Planning Authority board, Marthese Portelli, will vote, Delia said the question would have to be put to her.

But he did insist that the PN’s direction on all development was clear: “Anything within planning parameters is OK.”

In Parliament this week, Portelli was very critical of the project, insisting it breached the local plan and the policy regulating building heights. She was also very critical on the manner by which the land was transferred to the private company by the government.

Delia added that he wanted a long-term plan on development that catered for the country’s present and future needs, while ensuring that not everywhere gets built up. But as he said this, the PN leader insisted the party was not against developers.

Pembroke residents have come out against the db project on land that previously housed the ITS, a tourism school, in St George’s Bay.

The project is opposed by the PN-led councils of Swieqi and St Julians, and the Labour-led council of Pembroke.

PN MPs Simon Busuttil and Karol Aquilina attended a recent protest against the project and the latter declared in Parliament his opposition to the development.

On Dissett, Delia said the government had to ensure it always got the best value for money when giving away public land. He said the PN had asked the Auditor General last year to probe the ITS transfer and promised that he would not tolerate wrongdoing.

The PN leader questioned the futility of the proposed Attard bypass that will link the Mrieħel bypass to the foot of Saqajja Hill below Rabat.

He asked whether the proposed link road was enough to cater for the country’s expanding population and whether it was time to think long-term and plan for a mass transport system instead.