Residents, local councils and NGOs condemn ‘splicing and dicing’ of ITS development application

The newly application submitted by DB Group proposes excavation of the former ITS site, while the proposed large-scale development had been struck down by court in June 

Residents, local councils and NGOs have appealed to the public to submit their objection to a newly submitted application for the proposed City Centre development in Pebroke. 

The application proposes large scale excavation of the former ITS site that was part of the db Group’s original application and which was deemed null and void by a court in June.

“The application for standalone excavation is a clear case of an attempt to evade a holistic evaluation of the full impacts of the development,” the concerned parties said in a statement. 

According to them, the application process is being ‘spliced and diced’ in efforts to evade a holistic evaluation of the full impact of the development. 

“It is obvious that the whole planning and assessment procedure is being split into many stages to avoid having a study on the whole, final, gargantuan project and its environmental and related impacts,” the statement read. 

The parties said the application has been processed within a week, and yet no indication on where the excavation waste will be deposited has been outlined. 

The Grade 2 Scheduled building and Cold War Bunker in the area which extends above the proposed excavation, will be ‘retained’, according to the application. 

“Such a damaging request, being proposed in isolation of the intended colossal development, is completely unacceptable,” the statement read. 

The signatories also expressed their anger at how filing a separate application for excavation, when the permit filed by db Group for developing the area has been struck down by court. 

“Filing a separate application for excavation at this stage is clearly in contempt of court and a blatant ruse to circumvent the effects of the ruling. It is illogical to request a permit for excavation in relation to a project for which there is no permit in hand,” their statement read. 

The application, according to the residents, local councils and NGOs, can mean only two things. 

The first being that ‘the planning system is a farce’, or that there is a risk of excavations taking place without the actual project being eventually approved. 

“There is the risk of excavations taking place without the project being eventually approved, leaving a massive hole and a site ruined beyond repair,” they stated. 

“Following the courtroom victory which annulled the permit issued by the PA Board for the City Centre project, residents, Local Councils and NGOs vow to continue forcefully opposing the db Group’s megalomaniac plans that would have devastating impacts on the quality of life and the environment,” the statement concluded. 

The statement was endorsed by Pembroke, St Julian’s and Swieqi local councils as well as by the following NGOs: Archaeological Society of Malta, Bicycle Advocacy Group, BirdLife Malta, Din l-Art Ħelwa, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar, Friends of the Earth Malta, Isles of the Left, Moviment Graffitti, Nature Trust Malta and Ramblers Association.

Objectors have until August 26 to make their arguments against the excavation plans to the Planning Authority.

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