PG Group’s application to turn a field adjacent to the popular PAMA shopping mall in Mosta into an underground parking and shopping complex with an overlying public garden has generated some controversy given the field’s location in an Outside Zone (ODZ), but the group insists that it will “of course respect the decisions taken by the Planning Authority”.
The extension has been on the cards for some time, being mentioned in the group’s annual reports without divulging particular details, although the application had initially been lodged in 2019.
PG Group CEO Charles Borg tells WhosWho.mt that the development is in line with its mission to offer destinations to many clients rather than being simply a place for a visit to the supermarket.
“Our plans are to continue to broaden our offering in line with the expectations of our clients and business associates. This is the reason behind our application, that is to extend the PAMA outlet in Mosta.”
The group recently “slightly amended” its plans for what is currently an inaccessible and “largely brownland site that needs rehabilitation”, to incorporate a public garden open for everyone – not just its customers – together with two floors of free parking and a retail area.
On the issue of whether the garden would be heavily commercialised, as has been the case with the existing street-level parking lot at PAMA, Mr Borg said that there is no intention to do so, and that any commercial activities would be limited to the already existing structure on the proposed site.
“It is pertinent to note that the existing overlying garage and its surrounding area already has a building development permit and we are simply amending it slightly to shift the existing garage backwards.”
He adds that the group’s rationale to increase the number of car parking spaces underground is to meet the ever increasing demand for car spaces, including from various employees of companies and Government entities in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, the public garden is “part of our ESG contribution to the Maltese community and we will commit ourselves to maintain it to the highest standards.”
Mr Borg points out that PG Group, a listed entity on the Malta Stock Exchange, takes its environmental and social responsibility “very seriously”: “We do our best not to disturb the environment around us.”
“In fact we have invested significantly in photovoltaic systems to reduce our carbon footprint and we plan to invest even more in PAVI Qormi. We have also initiated a program to reduce the use of single plastic bottles and last year alone we have managed to reduce this by 12 per cent. As our financial statements confirm, as a group, we have done our best to maintain very competitive prices to assist families manage the impact of rising inflation, and this even at the expense of lower margins for the group.”