Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
The new 19,115 metre squared Chinese embassy planned for Pembroke has been given the green light by the Planning Authority.
Nine members out of the eleven voted in favour of the project, with NGO representative Annick Bonello and local council representative Kevin Borg voting against.
The embassy will rise to a height of six floors while the local plan for the area permits only three floors. The area had already been earmarked for the development of an embassy in a zoning application in 2012.
It will consist of six buildings surrounding a central garden. While one of the buildings will be used as an embassy, the rest will include a gym, ancillary residential buildings for its employees, and a building dedicated to consular services.
In a statement the Planning Authority said that although some of the embassy buildings will go over the allowable building height of the site, the board considered that the building footprint (3,714 meters squared) of the embassy was reduced from the allowable footprint of approximately 9,500 meters squared and that the majority of the structures exceeding the height limitation are architectural features which contribute to the overall design element of the embassy.
A €477,875 planning contribution fee was imposed on the applicant to compensate for the overall impact of the development. The PA said that the money will be paid towards the Development Planning Fund or the equivalent contribution will go towards a project the Pembroke Local Council agrees to with the Embassy.
The controversial permit was heavily criticized by residents and environmental NGOs. Moviment Graffitti, PN MP and shadow minister for the environment David Thake, and PL candidate Mark Causon were among those who objected to the development. A petition against the uptake of the land also garnered 6,000 signatures.