Public told no need for concern from target shooting in residential area

By Mark Viales

Public fear surrounding the construction of a target shooting range close to a residential area was quelled at this year’s final Department and Planning Commission meeting last Friday. 

In a previous DPC meeting, concern for live ammunition held onsite was expressed, however, Albert Buhagiar from the Gibraltar Target Shooting Association explained the strict safety regulations within the sport.

“I have to say that he replied in great detail, giving an historic account of how the club has fared in built up areas in town in the past and the minimal impact it had,” Janet Howitt from the Environmental Safety group told the DPC. “I must admit that I was ignorant on the safety regulations. This information should be shared publically.”

The range, which will be built on top of a 239 space car park that will replace the existing one at Waterport Road, will also contain warehouse space.

The ground floor will contain warehouse space whilst the First floor will comprise of 57 parking spaces and more areas for warehouses.

The second floor will have 90 spaces built upon the existing rooftop car park and the first level of the target shooting club, which will contain and external shooting range. Within the complex of the range there will be a spectator’s gathering area as well as changing rooms.

On the third floor there will be 92 parking spaces and the upper level of the target shooting club, which will contain rifle range offices and other ancillary uses.

The Department of Environment regretted that more car park spaces were necessary and proposed that a minimum of ten percent of the spaces should have electrical vehicle charging points.

Civil Aviation was also approached due to the proximity to the airport runway and it requested dust and bird management assessments as well as no upward facing lighting that could affect aircraft.

Dr Keith Bensusan from the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society questioned the demand for parking in that area.

“It is not an area that is frequented by the public and the residential areas include their own parking,” he said. “It seems like an ideal location for cars to be exported.”

Dr Joseph Garcia, Deputy Chief Minister, retorted that there was already a holding area to exports cars and there was also demand for that activity in Gibraltar.


An application from Gib Oil to connect a six-metre-high pipeline 24 metres in length from the existing tank in North Mole to the western arm depot was deferred to a later meeting.

The Western Arm Terminal explosion in 2011 left only one usable tank, which has not been used since, however, the project would ‘crucially’ increase diesel storage capacity for Gibraltar.

“There is no hidden agenda with what we are doing,” a Gib Oil representative at the meeting said. “This new infrastructure will increase our storage capacity and we feel this is crucial to have storage considering the uncertainly of the traffic at the frontier –amid free-flowing frontier Brexit concerns-.”

The DPC panel discussed with applicant that the preference was to have an underground pipe, despite the developer insisting that recommendations from the Port Authority that it was an ‘environmental risk’.

The risk, as explained by the developer, was due to old MoD pipelines beneath the site that could be damaged through excavation and cause an environmental issue.

“Given this day and age I am sure that we can build underground pipes,” said Paul Origo, Town Planner Chairman. “I suggest a survey to be taken to see if underground pipes can be installed.”

The applicant had said that the recommendations from the Port Authority was to build over ground as there was deemed to be significant environmental risk in excavating the site where there are.