The Paceville point is once again the subject of heated debate in favour of or against the proposed development by the DB Group. Moviment Graffiti, in coalition with entities and three Local Councils, has declared that the DB Group’s revised plans are also not acceptable. On the other hand, the DB Group is arguing that the revisions it made on its own initiative after the permit had been issued, conform to the 2006 policy, and the revised plans among other issues reduced building density and increased open spaces.
The design of the revised plans issued by the DB Group shows the revisions made to the City Centre project close to what was until very recently the ITS in Pembroke before the Planning Authority Board decides again after the Court had annulled the permit when it found that a member of the board could have had a conflict of interest. The altered project shows, among other issues, that the tower at the Paceville point will be seven storeys lower than originally planned, and the adjoining hotel will be two storeys lower than planned.
The DB Group stated that the revision will mean 50,000 sq.m. less, and the open space between the tower and the hotel has been increased by eleven metres to 40 metres, whilst also including a 7,000 sq.m. open square. The revised designs also show that the historic buildings will be retained in their original state and will be incorporated in the project after restoration, whilst insisting that Għar Ħarq Ħamiem will not be touched, as it will be protected with a 24-metre layer of rock.
Despite these revisions, and although the DB Group has stated it is prepared to invest 1.5 million euro in community projects to improve the environment for Pembroke residents, Moviment Graffiti and nine other entities together with three neighbouring Local Councils have continued to oppose the project which they describe as monstrous, saying the residents will be buried alive and it will also affect the environment and quality of life. This was stated when the public consultation period was opened before the Planning Authority decides again on the project.
Whilst recognising the revised plans provide more open spaces and a revised excavation plan, they are insisting the City Centre project is disproportionate. They add that as a result, Paceville will be invading Pembroke and Swieqi, as it will generate non-stop commercial activity in these residential locations.
Aside from environmental and planning considerations, a DB Group spokesman stated that despite the present economic squeeze, the Group is embarking courageously on this ambitious project with an investment of 250 million euro. The spokesman added that the Group has heeded the various objections raised, which are reflected in the changes. The spokesman further stated that once completed, the project will create some 1,200 jobs.