Concern At Loss Of Historical Colonial Properties
The Gibraltar Heritage Trust is concerned at the number of ex MoD quarters in the South District which are being bought by millionaires from abroad and are either demolishing the existing building with a view of building a modern mansion, or are building an extension which, when completed, simply destroys the original character of the property.
Examples of these are The New Aloes and Mount Barbary, both were demolished and there are now two massive modern buildings currently sitting empty. Lind House which was demolished several years ago and holds planning permission to build a modern mansion. Beaulieu House which has been partially demolished and has planning permission to build a modern extension that will dwarf the original building. There is currently a planning application to build a massive extension at Naval Hospital Hill.
The Trust understands that it is very much in Gibraltar's interest to attract wealthy individuals but there has to be a balance. There are several developments which have gone ahead for the benefit of these individuals, the Maida Vale project, Buena Vista, The Island to name a few. The South District was until recently mainly MoD land, the MoD built married quarters within the South District for its officers and SNCOs, they were thus modest buildings and this is what gives this area it's character.
The Trust will be using its representation and vote at the DPC to attempt to influence its decisions, it will do everything within its power to ensure that the uniqueness of Gibraltar is preserved as much as possible.
Follow up release Loss of Colonial Houses
The above release of 29th July 2014 was extensively covered in local press and included a statement from the Government clarifying timescales of the demolitions of these buildings. The report can be read here in the article entitled Demolition of exMOD housing 'has nothing to do with this Government'
The Trust has now responded and clarified its concerns in a release issued today 8th August 2014 which reads as follows:
The Gibraltar Heritage Trust thanks the Government for its response to our concerns about the past demolition of ex MOD married quarters. Our original press release did not, at any point, make any reference to the present administration or point any finger of blame. We were expressing our concern about the gradual trend in the last 10 years of the loss of these houses and their replacement by millionaire mansions.
It is indeed correct that the properties referred to in our press release suffered demolition under the previous administration and we regret that whole heartedly. The process by which the whole story of a property going from successful original tender to resale, gradual deterioration, neglect, speculation and eventual demolition and replacement by a modern mansion, happens under the noses of the Government of the day, the Opposition of the day and various other government departments and agencies.
There is, therefore, a collective responsibility which must be shared by all those in authority for the demise of such buildings. The Trust, as custodians of Gibraltar's Heritage, is very aware of the general public's feelings about these iconic buildings. Whilst during this administration's term of office we have not, as yet, had a full demolition of an exMOD married quarter, we remain vigilant and concerned that events such as the approval of the demolition of the Risso Bakery at the DPC, will result in the setting of a precedent that will be hard to stop. The DPC is, of course, not the Government but despite the very great improvements seen under the present administration by opening up the meetings to the public, the Trust still has serious concerns about heritage conservation.