Incubating Paceville… Looking at the bigger picture
The devil is in the detail, the sceptics keep saying. But by starting with a master plan for Paceville, we are effectively incubating one area and carefully following its development, with a view to replicate this experiment on a national scale.
The Paceville Master Plan in fact is not an end in itself but a way on how to plan ahead in a country that is clearly experiencing a rapid pace of economic growth. That is why the Paceville Master Plan looks at the bigger picture.
The Paceville Master Plan, currently at public consultation stage, is more than a land use plan with a supporting transport strategy. It is a master plan with recommendations for spatial planning to guide the regeneration of Paceville and pursue growth in a sustainable manner.
It seeks to integrate natural and cultural assets with the overall concept of local identity, making Paceville a sought-after space to live and work in, and provide a high quality tourism and recreation destination. The document illustrates the potential impacts from the projected growth if this is undertaken without any planning interventions, highlighting in particular the transport-related problems this would generate.
Three different strategic options for land use and another three strategic options for transport were considered by the consultants on the basis of the projected growth. The land use option with the highest proportion of open public space, and the transport option with a balanced approach to transport management, after consultations with Transport Malta and their consultants, was selected as the preferred option for which the planning framework is to be prepared. This is the option being subjected to public consultation.
A tall building strategy is put forward which has to be seen in conjunction with the recommendations to secure public views as well as access and enjoyment of the coast. The restriction on development in sensitive areas such as Wied Harq Hamiem and the underground cavern system safeguards their protected status while increasing the public’s opportunities to appreciate the existing natural heritage. Cumulatively, the proposed measures for green open spaces and views are aimed at providing a high quality environment. Similar proposals to promote cultural heritage assets in the area are targeted to safeguard heritage while at the same time contribute to promote a distinctive character of a much higher quality to the entire area.
Transport and waste management measures are developed to provide for an improved local ambient air quality and support for increased collection of separated waste, in line with existing national strategies and objectives. The master plan also makes recommendation for supporting infrastructure, from energy to water and telecommunication. Furthermore, design proposals for sustainable urban water drainage systems introduce tangible measures for the uptake of green infrastructure, with the objective of alleviating if not preventing the impacts from surface water runoff during storm events.
Perit Carmel Cacopardo’s “preliminary peek” in The Malta Independent on Sunday published on 25th September, misses a few of the important aspects which are explained above. Comparing Imriehel and Tigné to the Paceville Master Plan is not correct as the master plan caters for the increase in volume over and above what is stipulated by the current local plan. With regard to the Mir Ali report and the reference to Floor Area Ration Policy, one should note that this policy does not allow any increase in volume which might affect transport and infrastructure. It is also now a requirement to produce a number of studies, including Social Impact Assessments, which will enable decision makers to decide whether the proposed building fits in the respective urban set-up.
This land use strategy seeks to give Paceville a new and distinct identity, based on its existing features that can be experienced all year round by residents, visitors and tourist alike.
Further to the current public consultation, the draft master plan will be subjected to a Social Impact Assessment as well as a Strategic Environmental Assessment.