Vociferous over trivial matters, but silent over giant development

Dear Sir,

Faced with a proposal for a giant development on Top of the Rock within the Nature Reserve I am astonished at the silence of both the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society (who have over the years been vociferous over far more trivial matters) and the Gibraltar Heritage Trust – who admittedly were also silent on the defacing of a historic building Inces’ Hall. 

The development will destroy the silhouette of the Rock, Gibraltar’s most iconic view; I recall a proposal to install a cross on the top of the rock having been rightly refused on this ground. It will cause significant disruption, in the short and long term, to the fauna and flora of the Nature Reserve and it will not benefit anyone other than the owners. Much of it is geared at creating a shopping centre on the Upper Rock, hardly an appropriate venue and in conflict with the Government’s often stated policy of “not commercialising the Nature Reserve”. And of course meaning a loss of revenue to retailers throughout Gibraltar who depend on sales to tourism to stay afloat and a loss to Government if people lose jobs and businesses close.

It will mean the loss of over twenty parking spaces at Grand Parade. Will the developers be expected to provide these elsewhere? Will they be charged a commercial price if not? Will any expenses in public infrastructure necessary for the increased usage (electricity, water, sewage etc), immediate and ongoing, be charged to the developers and advertised to the public or will this be a hidden subsidy to the business? Will the operators of the Cable Car finally be required by Government to pay the full entry fee to the Nature Reserve as ruled by Gibraltar’s Supreme Court or will the ruling continue to be ignored and the uncollected revenue added to already outstanding £25 million pounds?

In this context if the Government of Gibraltar and DPC feel in their wisdom that this project benefits Gibraltar they should state their reasons clearly, and objectively explain and quantify what direct and indirect benefit there will be to the local exchequer. If this is not done there and this monstrosity still goes ahead there will be a strong suspicion that we are not being told the whole story and that there are powerful vested interests here being given priority over the common weal.


William Norris