Planning Authority launches a new €300 million masterplan for Paceville
The Planning Authority yesterday launched a consultation document for the Development Framework of Paceville.
The masterplan looks into a number of key issues which need to be addressed. Primarily, the plan aims to make access to the waterfront easier, St George’s Beach more prominent and create new public spaces.
If it materialises, the whole project could cost more than €300 million. The Maltese government, the EU and private investors will be the ones forking out the money.
Mott Macdonald and Malyan Broadway were entrusted with setting up the framework. One thing which dominated the presentation was a proposed skyline framework. Damien Price, a Mott Macdonald representative gave a detailed presentation in which he explained how, for the skyline framework to work, there needs to be a number of high-rise buildings.
An artistic impression which was shown during the presentation was welcomed with a sharp intake of breath as the cluttered skyline dominated the view from Valletta. Mr Price said that the skyline framework should be built in a way which represents the levelling in a valley highest buildings set in the centre, and storeys decrease as they are approaching the coast.
The aim of the masterplan is to celebrate ‘hidden’ landmarks and explore the hidden views of the sea which surrounds Paceville area. The plan includes the setting up of a new tunnel to pass underneath Regional Road, walk- and cycleways. It also explores an increased use of sea transport. “No more one-off developments, but an integrated development which looks at the bigger picture,” Mr Price added.
Damien Price explained that the plan comes in five stages, which include the evaluation of the current situation, assess options, data gathering, preferred option and consultation.
He said that when one looks at the current situation of Paceville, one notices poor-quality arrival points, aesthetic issues and lacking in first impressions. He said dominance of traffic causes challenges for pedestrians and cyclists. Therefore, one of the main aims is to have a better environment which makes life for pedestrians and cyclists easier.
“The plan aims to establish a 5star-hotel destination. Enhancing transport infrastructure and deal with issues of parking and traffic congestions. If these are improved, it will be a huge step forward.”
The plan includes traditional public squares in the area, but he said there needs to be a sense of arrival and the need to create a high-quality waterfront walk way.
“We want Paceville to be a home to a successful, vibrant and well-connected mix use,” Mr Price added.
The consultation document looks at three plausible options. One which emphasises the use of pedestrian and cycling transportation, another which highlights the use of vehicular transportation and a third which is a balanced solution, mix between cars, cycling and a better public transport system in the area.
The proposed development can potentially sustain some 9,000 jobs, increase the population in the area and, if the development is implemented, the floor space will be increased from 785,000 square metres to 1.7 million square metres.
Apart from all this, as Mr Price explained, one of the positive effects of the project will be the reduction of anti-social behaviour. However, the project is expected to increase the property price in the area.
The first phase of the proposed project will start in 2017 and is expected to go on until after 2021.
Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Deborah Schembri said that Paceville seriously lacks a holistic plan. She said economic growth brings about big challenges and that is why Malta should make sure that development walks had in hand with the proper planning.
PA Chairman, Johann Buttigieg said that this framework is aimed at attracting the best accommodation in the area. He explained that for the area to be good, there needs to be work, tourism, development and activity.
Mr Buttigieg said that this is only the plan, and further studies need to be carried out. The intervention by the government and the PA was minimal, he added.
After a six-week consultation period, the masterplan will be tabled before the House Committee.