Letter forwarded to Mr. Peter Caruana, Chief Minister from Europa Nostra, the pan European Federation for Cultural Heritage

February 10, 2006 at 5:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Re: save the Rosia Water Tanks

Dear Chief Minister,

Europa Nostra, the pan European Federation for Cultural Heritage, which is presided

over by HRH the Prince Consort of Denmark, has been informed by its member

organisation Gibraltar Heritage Trust (GHT) and the South District Association (SDA) of

the imminent threat of destruction of the Rosia Water Tanks in Gibraltar, an outstanding

example of late 18th century naval architecture with great historic, cultural and

architectural significance for Gibraltar and for Europe as a whole.

As the voice of the civil society associations concerned with the conservation and

enhancement of cultural heritage throughout Europe, we urge you to use your authority

to postpone the planned works and engage into the necessary process of public

consultation on the development of the Rosia Water Tanks site and the possible

alternative locations for the affordable housing project.

We have been given to understand that the planned apartment building, known as

Nelson’s View, will detract from what remains of the heritage of Rosia Bay. It will

overshadow the Victualling Yard and Parson’s Lodge which won a Europa Nostra

Diploma in 1996 for the careful repair and restoration of the historic fortification. But

most importantly this construction will destroy the unique Rosia Water Tanks, of great

historical and architectural value, as has been underlined by two leading experts on

British Naval History, Dr Colin White, Director of the National Maritime Museum in

Portsmouth and Dr Jonathan Coad, a member of the Europa Nostra Scientific Council

and Vice-President of the Society for Nautical Research.

According to Dr Coad, the Rosia Water Tanks are an important element in the

extraordinary concentration of historic naval and military installations on the Rock of

Gibraltar and should be a key element in any submission that Gibraltar will make for

World Heritage Site status. In addition, if regenerated the Rosia Water Tanks could

benefit the public at large, add to the quality of life of the Gibraltarians and provide a

further attraction for Gibraltar’s many visitors, generating income for many sectors of

society.

Europa Nostra fully appreciates the needs to build affordable housing for families in

Gibraltar but shares the GHT’s view that this should not be done at the expense of the

valuable heritage assets of the Rock, especially if alternative locations do exist. In this

respect we have been informed by the GHT and the SDA that alternative locations for

the development of affordable housing have already been suggested, namely:

Queensway, Windmill Hill, Europa Point, Eastern Beach and Buena Vista Barracks.

I

n the light of the above we reiterate our appeal to postpone the start of the works and

engage into a proper public consultation process with all parties concerned before a

final decision is taken. This decision should seek to strike the right balance between the

two complementary objectives: to provide affordable housing and to protect Gibraltar’s

cultural heritage.

Our Scientific Council and Secretariat remain at your full disposal for any further advice

you might wish to obtain.

Sincerely,

Sneska Quaedvlieg Mihailovic

Secretary General

Cc: Sir Francis Richards, Governor of Gibraltar

Mr Fabian Vinet, Heritage Minister

Mrs Gisele Sene, Chairperson of the South District Association

The Chairman of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust

Dr Ann Coats, Secretary of the Naval Dockyards Society

Prof Gianni Perbellini, Chairman of the Europa Nostra Scientific Council

Dr Jonathan Coad, Member of the Europa Nostra Scientific Council

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