Gibraltar Parliament proposed lift

The Gibraltar Heritage Trust is concerned at the current proposal to install a lift to the Parliament Building. The Trust acknowledges that it is important for there to be access for disabled persons to this public building, however, is of the view that this can be achieved without affecting the external appearance of this building.

The Parliament Building is listed under Schedule B of the 1989 Gibraltar Heritage Trust Act and as such has been identified as a building of historical significance to Gibraltar and its people. It should therefore be noted that as well as planning permission a Heritage License is also required to be issued as per the requirements of the Act.

The installation of a lift as proposed, that is an addition to the exterior of the building, will affect the symmetry of this important building and also the setting of the John Mackintosh Square itself and the Trust would not recommend approval. The Trust would go further and take the view that the installation of a lift as proposed would impair the integrity and character of the building and would therefore not be allowed under Section 49(a) of the Heritage Trust Act.

The Trust would recommend that Government take a longer view to the development of the Parliament building and look at recovering the ground floor of this civic building for Parliamentary interests. In the short term, consideration of the installation of a chair lift on the interior staircase should be looked at so that disabled access to the public gallery can be achieved.