GSD Says “Government treats people like fools”

The Government’s reply regarding the Hilton hotel project is “nothing other than a blatant diversionary tactic to avoid answering the points of clarification which the GSD Opposition has sought from it,” according to Damon Bossino, the shadow minister for planning.

Mr Bossino has today asked: Does the Government support the project as currently envisaged or not? What premium has been paid to allow the project to proceed? Has change of use and any required extensions of leases been granted?

A statement continued: “Is the Government expecting Gibraltarians to believe that the developers have not yet agreed terms with it before proceeding to submit a planning application that requires the demolition of the existing hotel? The public requires full disclosure of the agreement reached between the developers and Government.
Why are the Government so coy about providing answers to these central points? What are they trying to hide?

“The fact is that the proposed development at the site of the Caleta Hotel represents a dense architectural blot on the landscape of the area. The developers and the Government who must (unless they say otherwise) have signalled a willingness to provide landlord’s consent to the development must think again of the impact on the urban and natural environment.

“While the principle of sensitive development is to be welcome these proposals would be an insensitive and massive intrusion. It appears to be driven by a desire for further luxury housing for the benefit of very few but the impact of many.

“A GSD Government would not consent the development, as currently envisaged, from proceeding. It is understood by the Opposition that the project is instigated privately and on private land – no one requires to be patronisingly lectured on this point. The GSD is, furthermore, aware that the planning process requires to be exhausted.

“With respect to the Government these points are wholly irrelevant to whether they are behind the project as it stands or not. It will not be lost on the public that there are two Ministers of the Government who sit on the DPC who will have a view as to whether it is supportive of the proposals or not, yet they avoid addressing what position they will take at planning stage.

“Why cannot they state whether they will support the plans when they have attracted so much criticism and concern?
Whilst it is acknowledged that the residential priority offer to Catalan Bay emanates from the developer the core issues raised by the GSD remain unanswered, avoided and conveniently ignored! The Government needs to stop pulling the wool over peoples’ eyes, admit that it has agreed terms with the developer and come clean once and for all.”