Alternative plans for the Grand Parade Car Park were put forward by the GSD this morning, instead of what the party described as the “multi-storey car park monstrosity” proposed by the Government.
A thousand more parking spaces that can be made available to residents and tourists alike form part of the proposal put forward by the GSD which will see a two-and-a-half-floor underground car park. The ground level would be offered to residents and the rest sold as additional parking spaces or paid parking.
The GSD’s transport spokesman Trevor Hammond said these plans would see the area turn into a cultural hub for Gibraltar, and with a national theatre being built in the old Queen’s Cinema, which would allow it to become Gibraltar’s version of London’s South Bank without spoiling the vista or the landscape of the area.
At a press conference held this morning, the Leader of the party Roy Clinton said the GSD want to ask the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Government if these plans can be taken into consideration.
He said the GSD wants to add their name to the list of those people opposed to the Government’s proposal for a 900-space car-park over three floors, including commentators on social media, the Environmental Safety Group, GONHS, the Gibraltar Heritage Trust and members from the Development and Planning Commission, who objected to the current plans by suggesting an underground car park be built instead.
The GSD’s alternative is the result of research carried out over the past six weeks during which the party discovered a previous outline planning application put forward to the DPC in 2004 by a private developer which was never built.
Mr Hammond said: “I am very pleased to say that the alternative that has become apparent to us is certainly a far better project for the area that the Government is planning.”
Mr Hammond criticised the Government’s record on planning developments, highlighting the previously promised two-storey car park under Commonwealth Park that never materialised, and the delays affecting the development of Victoria Stadium into a national stadium for the GFA team, but said this could become part of GSD’s policy for the next election if there are delays to the project.
“There is a need for parking in Gibraltar, for both residents and tourists,” he added. “I don’t think this will encourage greater vehicle ownership but it is necessary we provide a facility for the current requirements in our community.”
Mr Clinton said that this project would not cost the Government a penny as the developer had offered to pay for it previously, with current estimates seeing this plan costing £20million.
He added: “Here we have a project that from a technical view is possible, from a financial view, using the Chief Minister’s own words, is ‘succulent’, it will solve parking issues in the area, and with a little bit of imagination, you can landscape the above area and it can be a major tourist area.”
Mr Clinton said the GSD’s proposals were a “once in a generation opportunity to get it right”, adding that these would work alongside current plans to increase cable car facilities for tourists, with the new national theatre and the possibility of changing the current fire station into an art gallery, it would be a cultural hub for Gibraltar.
Mr Hammond said: “Why would we waste the area in Grand Parade if we know we can dig down? We know people don’t like the Government proposals so we ask people to write to the Government, write to the DPC and make your voices known.
“It is a no brainer to me and frankly I think it’s a bloody-minded Government and a bloody-minded Chief Minister who would reject this and go with their own proposal of a two-storey above ground ugly monstrosity in the heart of our city.”