Relocation of Community Mental Health Team to former premises of the Gibraltar Chronicle Printing Works

The Gibraltar Heritage Trust is very surprised at the announcement made by Minister Arias Vasquez in Parliament of the relocation of the Government’s Mental Health Services to the old Printing Works in the vicinity of the Gibraltar Garrison Library.

Whilst applauding the Minister’s desire for an appropriate and much needed mental health facility, and it is clearly in the interest of our community to have our historic facilities and structures rejuvenated, renewed and useful, there are certain procedures and assessments that need to be undertaken as part of the Town Planning Process. 

We fail to understand how an announcement such as this can be made as a fait accompli without any early consultations with heritage bodies being undertaken, or a Heritage Desk Based Assessment being carried out to at least understand the value and requirements that such a conversion would require. 

The fabric of the building, with its art deco style interior and printing works machinery and ephemera would be an absolute tragedy to be diluted or potentially lost altogether. The Gibraltar Chronicle is the 2nd oldest English language newspaper in the world having been in continuous print since 1801. This needs to be celebrated and showcased, not potentially stripped away. 

The Government’s own Heritage Vision states that ‘joined up thinking and solid partnerships are required’ between all sectors, but certainly within Government Departments as a start. We would add that there are other more accessible buildings in the near vicinity, such as the old Sergeants Mess Headquarters on Governors Parade (ex DSS building), that might be better suited for this much needed facility.

Press Release Issued: 3rd July 2024

HMGoG Budget 2024 - announcement by Minister for Health, Gemma Arias-Vasquez.