POSITION STATEMENT ON NELSON’S VIEW AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOUTH DISTRICT

April 20, 2006 at 11:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE – POSITION STATEMENT ON NELSON’S VIEW AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS IN THE SOUTH DISTRICT

 

The South District Association has been aware all along that there is a need for “affordable” housing in Gibraltar and recognises the fact that such homes need to be built.  Notwithstanding this there are number of issues that need to be taken up with the Government relating to affordability, the method by which homes are allocated, the growing number of luxury developments, the lack of social housing for rent, the modernisation of laws governing the private rented housing sector and other matters.  The SDA recognises that these issues should form part of well thought out housing and urban development policies.  Sadly, as is all too apparent, a coherent and balanced housing and urban development strategy is lacking.  A fact that needs to be addressed urgently by a much wider constituency to ensure that pressure is put on the Government to force them to take action.

 

The Association’s dispute with the Government and OEM International Limited has not been about the need to construct “affordable” homes it has been about the location of these.  The SDA continues to oppose the construction of Nelson’s View.  The fact that the Rosia Water Tanks have now been almost entirely demolished does not mean that the problems for the developers and the Government have gone away.  Their most spectacular achievement to date has been to deny present and future generations of Gibraltarians part of their heritage. They have failed, even, to record the historical, architectural and archaeological importance of the Rosia Water Tanks so that some evidence of their existence survives this lamentable episode in Gibraltar’s history.  Monday’s Times Newspaper carried a report suggesting that some of the bricks that were used in the construction of these tanks could have been of Roman origins.  This is a fact that such a survey would have been able to record.

 

Perhaps the Chief Minister might act to reduce concerns being expressed about the future for other parts of this historical site, by immediately listing the Victualling Yard, Parson’s Lodge and the Rosia Mole.

 

The SDA notes with interest reports appearing in the media stating that “indications are that most of the applicants have shown a higher interest towards Nelson’s View development.”   (Gibraltar Chronicle Thursday 13th April 2006).  This may be due in large part to the fact that both Cumberland Terrace and Bay Views face the Dockyard that is reportedly known to have problems with containing airborne pollutants and to be the cause of much noise nuisance in the area.

 

It should be noted, once more, that the Association has never had and does not have any axe to grind with any potential purchaser of homes at Nelson’s View or any other development that is to be built within the South District.  The concerns expressed by the SDA and residents of the area have been about exposing the ‘secretive’ and one sided planning process, the fact that there has never been any meaningful consultation with residents of the South District, the way in which property rights are being completely ignored, the total disregard of health and safety concerns particularly in respect to the safe removal of asbestos from the site, the lack of co-operation from Government departments and so on.  These issues remain and need to be addressed in the short term, if the current Government wishes to restore its credibility with the electorate before the next elections.

 

South District Association

NEIL PARISH VISITS THE ROSIA WATER TANKS

April 19, 2006 at 1:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE – NEIL PARISH VISITS THE ROSIA WATER TANKS

 

On Good Friday Neil Parish, Conservative MEP for Gibraltar and two of his colleagues, Richard Ashworth, who represents the South East, and Philip Bradbourn, from the West Midlands, visited the Rosia Bay area at the invitation of the South District Association to see at first hand the destruction of the Rosia Water Tanks.  Neil Parish expressed his dismay that the Government had gone ahead with the demolition of the Water Tanks in spite of all the representations and appeals that had been made.

 

As part of the intense campaign of lobbying to save the water tanks, he, as well as, Graham Watson, Liberal and Glyn Ford, Labour MEPs for Gibraltar, wrote to the Chief Minister, earlier this year, appealing to him to reconsider his decision to demolish them.  Mr Parish confirmed to members of the South District Association, who were showing him around the area, that the CM has still not replied to his letter.

 

In the hour that Mr Parish spent familiarising himself with the area, he showed great interest in the planning issues that the Nelson’s View project had exposed.  The SDA members present gave Mr Parish and his colleagues the background and history of the Rosia area and answered their many questions.  Mr Parish once again expressed the view that European Funding might be available to fund the restoration and beautification of the area and he offered, once again, to assist in the application process.  The SDA thanked Mr Parish for the support that he had given the Save the Rosia Tanks Campaign.

 

South District Association

South District Association supports Rosia Cottages

April 10, 2006 at 11:29 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASEThe South District Association supports fully the action taken by the owners of the Rosia Cottages in the Supreme Court, as they seek to protect the property rights granted to them under leases entered into with the Government of Gibraltar.In view of the fact that this matter is being dealt with through the Courts, the SDA cannot understand how the Chief Minister is able to support the launch by OEM International Limited of Nelson's View and openly encourage the sale of these homes given that there is a legal action now before the Supreme Court.  This action, which has been taken against the Government, could prevent the developers from building on this site altogether.Further it is astounded by reports that appeared in the media recently that the Government has known of this situation since December 2005 and did not address these matters prior to issuing OEM outline planning consent and a full demolition permit.  As a result the SDA calls on the Government to suspend the sale of these homes immediately and to halt the demolition of the Water Tanks until the outcome of this legal action is known.Given the new understanding that the Chief Minister has reached about the heritage value of these tanks, it would be perverse to contemplate a situation in which these are demolished but Nelson's View cannot then be built.  This would in effect deliver a "double whammy", depriving Gibraltar of a historic site and not providing the planned "affordable" homes to Gibraltarians.  It would create a new hole to match the one that now exists at the Theatre Royal. The Government, by suspending the demolition until the outcome of the case is known, could then use the lull in the works to instruct its Heritage Division to undertake a full architectural, historical and archaeological survey on what's left of the Rosia Water Tanks. 

SOUTH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

with interest the comments made by the Chief Minister

April 5, 2006 at 2:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

PRESS RELEASE – IN REPLY TO THE CHIEF MINISTER

WEDNESDAY 5TH APRIL 2006 – for immediate release 

The South District Association notes with interest the comments made by the Chief Minister, on GBC’s Newsnight programme on Monday 3rd April 2006, following the launch party of Nelson’s View, Bay Views and Cumberland Terraces.

 

The Chief Minister has recognised publicly for the first time that there is a significant “heritage” value to the Rosia Water Tanks.  This is a small but nonetheless important u-turn given that not so long ago, the SDA recalls, he was being quoted by the media as saying these were just some old water tanks that did not merit saving.  Why has he changed his mind now about their heritage value?  Perhaps he has realised that all the information presented to him and the appeals made by international heritage organisations (Europa Nostra, ICOMOS-UK, Naval Dockyards Association and others), three MEPs for Gibraltar, eminent local historians and conservationists, 3000 petitioners, numerous members of the public who wrote in and made comments in the media, Gibraltar Heritage Trust and the SDA had some merit.  Unfortunately it is too late to save the Rosia Water Tanks now.  They are now being demolished and will soon cease to exist, even though that it is not entirely certain that OEM International Limited will be able to get the necessary planning permission and building permits to construct Nelson’s View on that site.

 

He went on to recognise, as the SDA and the Gibraltar Heritage Trust have said on a number of occasions that he did not realise the extent of their significance.  This is somewhat galling given that the SDA was instrumental in highlighting the historical and heritage value of the Water Tanks and made numerous appeals to him to halt the demolition even after it had commenced.  It was the work that the SDA did that helped the Gibraltar Heritage Trust to re-evaluate its assessment of the “heritage” value of these Tanks.  Subsequently this led them to take action to try to prevent their demolition late last year and early into the New Year.  Unfortunately the Chief Minister refused to listen even to their appeals.

 

The SDA continues to hold to the view that the Rosia Water Tanks could have been saved and that the construction of these ‘affordable’ homes should have been moved to another site.  It now cannot understand how the Chief Minister arrived at and can continue to defend what he describes as a ‘balanced’ decision.

 

At the end of the day, the merits of saving the Water Tanks cannot simply be put down to whether or not those fighting to preserve them had selfish motives or were motivated by “heritage” concerns.  As a lawyer it is the facts that count and if he had taken stock of these he would have seen the importance of saving these Water Tanks.

 

Whilst the Rosia Water Tanks are still partly standing and given that he recognises that these have a “heritage” value he could ask the Heritage Division to undertake a proper architectural, historical or archaeological survey, so that some records of their existence can be held in trust for the people of Gibraltar.

 

SOUTH DISTRICT ASSOCIATION

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