Monday, June 20, 2016

Townsquare: Sliema Local Council presents its position to Planning Authority

PA concealed documents related to Townsquare Tower: Sliema council

Times of Malta 20 June 2016

The Planning Authority concealed documents related the Townsquare Tower development by not uploading them online, Sliema local council has alleged. 
The proposed Townsquare project.The proposed Townsquare project.
In a statement reacting to a case officer report about the development, the local council said three documents referred to by the case officer had only been made available after the council requested them.
"This concealing of documents is highly suspicious and in breach of the Aarhus Convention," the council statement read.  
A fourth document dated May 2016 is still not available online despite "countless" requests, the council said. 
The Townsquare Tower development is intended to replace what used to be Sliema's Union Club. 
The council said that it appreciated the case officer's suggestion for a council member to sit on the board deciding the application. 
It however argued that despite the Floor Area Ratio Policy stipulating that tall building proposals had to take similar nearby developments into consideration, the Townsquare Tower Environment Planning Statement and its addenda did not "in any way" consider plans for a 40-storey Fort Cambridge hotel. 
The case officer's report also "failed to assess any of the traffic related issues", the local council said, arguing that the developer's studies were "totally unrealistic". One of those claims is that peak hour traffic to and from Tigne Peninsula has decreased over the past decade. 
Vehicle emissions were now deemed to have a "negligible" impact on residents, the local council said incredulously, and there was no mention of public transport provisions. Nor was there any mention of a Green Travel Plan, as required by the Floor Area Ratio Policy, it said. 
The case officer had also failed to comment on a shortfall of 234 car parking spots, the council said, and had similarly steered clear of looking into the impact the proposed project would have on drainage systems. 
Sliema Local Council's position on Townsquare project can be read here .

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