9th May 2017
FAA PR: FAA AND RESIDENTS CALL ON PA TO STOP THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF PEMBROKE
Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar together with a group of over 200 Pembroke residents are calling on the Planning Authority to refuse the recent barrage of applications for 5 to 6 storey developments set to alter and destroy the character and tranquility of Pembroke.
The sudden surge of applications is no coincidence but a result of a change in planning policies introduced in 2015 that made it possible to increase all buildings by at least one additional floor over and above the building height limitations set in 2006 that in the case of Pembroke, were already unreasonably set at 3 to 4 floors.
Due to this policy amendment in 2015, Pembroke’s allowed building height soared to 5 or 6 storeys – a stark contrast with the existing rows of 2 storey terraced houses dotted by historic military barracks that give Pembroke its distinct character. The CEO of the Planning Authority, Johann Buttigieg blatantly denied the implications of the 2015 policy amendment, stating that the number of permissible floors has not increased, despite the Planning Authority itself having already approved hundreds of applications at this new increased building height.
Through these policies the Planning Authority is encouraging the demolition of terraced houses and their replacement with 5 or 6 storey apartment blocks without any consideration for the residents who already invested in Pembroke specifically because it is a quiet low-density residential area with open green spaces and wide well-lit streets, characteristics that are all quickly disappearing in Malta as the island is engulfed by over-development, rampant congestion and increasing levels of air and noise pollution.
“It’s as if the Planning Authority has set out to make all of Malta’s streets equally chaotic and depressive. Instead of writing policies that support the regeneration of degraded areas the Planning Authority is introducing loopholes that encourage the ruin of the few remaining well-planned characteristic towns that we have” – Tara Cassar, Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar.
The Pembroke Local Council have also expressed their serious concerns about the impact of these towering blocks in Pembroke, stating that they are “contrary to all development within its locality that changes the present configuration and nature of this residential area” and “against the intensification and construction of buildings higher than those present in the neighbourhoods.”
At present the Planning Authority are processing at least 3 applications of this kind in Pembroke. The first will be decided by the Planning Commissionon Wednesday though sadly in this particular case the damage has already been done as an application for 4 floors on the exact same site was already approved in June 2016. The applicant is now requesting to increase the development to 5 units.
FAA and the residents of Pembroke are calling on the Planning Authority to stop adopting developer-oriented policies and to start putting resident’s well-being at the heart of planning. Buildings are for people and it is no use rampaging on with destructive construction for the sake of so-called development when you’re driving out the community you should be developing for.
The FAA Committee