The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

DB permit revocation: ‘the people can make a difference’

Wednesday, 19 June 2019, 14:58 Last update: about 2 months ago

Residents, NGOs and three Local Councils welcome the positive news that the permit for the abusive speculation at St George's Bay by DB Group on the site of the former ITS building has been revoked by the Court of Appeal, in response to a legal challenge filed by them.

The Court of Appeal found that Planning Board member Matthew Pace was in a position of conflict of interest, with his real estate franchise selling parts of the development before the permit was even granted. This led to the Planning Board's decision of 20th September 2018 to be annulled, and the permit revoked.

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This has been a long case, from the first core group meetings with concerned residents, to the public meeting to discuss the way forward with the wider community, to the Planning Board meeting which had to change venue due to the unprecedented interest, and then on to the Environmental and Planning Review Tribunal, where we appealed the Planning Board's decision, and then to the Court of Appeal.

These challenges were met thanks to the tremendous support shown by people from all over the islands who responded to our call for crowd funding. Without each and every one of their donations, their support, this would not have been possible. This victory is theirs as much as anyone's.

The residents of Pembroke who, with great courage, spoke truth to power, stood up and made their voice heard, are the real protagonists in this fight. When they saw their quality of life and health threatened, their prospects for a peaceful future buried alive, they did not back down, despite facing very discouraging odds. We also acknowledge the crucial contribution of the three Local Councils – Pembroke, St. Julian’s and Swieqi – that put aside partisan interests and fought for the wellbeing of their communities

Credit is also due to our legal and architectural team composed of Claire Bonello, Ian Vella Galea and Malcolm Mifsud, and Architects Tara Cassar and John Ebejer who had their hearts in this campaign from the very beginning. We need more professionals like them, the NGOs said.

 

This legal challenge was filed by:

- Three Local Councils: Pembroke, St. Julian’s and Swieqi

- Four NGOs: Moviment Graffitti, Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar (FAA), Din l-Art Ħelwa and Friends of the Earth Malta

- Nine residents

 

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