Chinese embassy in Pembroke gets green light

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.

Stop the destruction of more trees! No to a Chinese embassy on virgin land!

🙅‍♂️Objections to this PA can be submitted at the following link till the 29th April, 2020;✍️Sign this petition to help stop the madness:📲Share this video to spread the message———-1) Take up of 19,385 m2 of land: Such a large take-up of woodland in an already congested area will have detrimental effects on the residents of the area and for the ever-increasing levels of air pollution.2) Local Plan: The Local Plan stipulated that a maximum of 304 new housing units could be built in this zone, as well as in another area of the same size in Pembroke, which was also allocated for housing. In a local plan approved by the government in 2006, the area now earmarked for an embassy, was allocated for the development of three-storey high maisonettes and flats on the condition that mature trees found in the area are safeguarded. Despite the area being close to a Special Area of Conservation (see next point), some parts of the proposed Embassy will rise up to 5 floors.3) ERA has stated: “The site lies c. 280m from the Special Area of Conservation… protected under the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Regulation”. Protected flora and fauna in the area include the Hedgehog, Scilla sicula, Bees and Aleppo Pines. The proposed project would include the felling of protected trees.4) New or alerted vehicular access: Transport Malta has stated: “Access from ‘new’ street is considered dangerous. Such access/es shall either be shifted to Suffolk road or include an adequate lay-by, or any adequate measures avoiding tailbacks or any stationary waiting vehicles in this road. Such stopping of vehicles is totally unacceptable.”5) Security reasons: An embassy close to schools can be a security threat to children, the elderly population of St Patrick's and St Andrew's area, as well as to all the residents of Pembroke.

Posted by Keep Pembroke Green on Friday, April 24, 2020