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29th October 2020, 15:35

DPC unanimously approves application for new cable car station but defers one for Upper Rock hotel

The Development and Planning Commission has unanimously approved an application for a new cable car system and stations at Grand Parade and on the upper Rock, pending a number of conditions in respect of traffic, the environment and bird migration as well as geo technical issues. The project includes a cleaning and management plan and a monitoring programme for birds and macaques, as well as one for environmental tools and resources.

The application states numbers and demand have outgrown the current cable car and that the project will promote sustainable tourism and embrace 21st century green technology.

The cable car application has been before the Development and Planning Commission for over two years. Over this time, the application has been amended, a number of concerns addressed and the management plan updated. Objections lodged included the unfair competition the increased capacity could represent to other service providers, although this does not fall under the remit of the Commission. Another issue raised was a loss of parking at Grand Parade. However the Commission felt the benefits to Gibraltar outweighed this.

Janet Howitt from the Environmental Safety Group expressed concerns on the increased use of the Upper Rock and the need for a management plan to cater for this. Wearing his hat as Government Minister and not as DPC member, John Cortes gave a categorical assurance that there would be one.

One of the conditions imposed is the need for close monitoring of the construction process.

Also on Thursday an application for outline planning for a three storey hotel at the former pig and poultry farm in Lewis Battery in the Upper Rock was deferred to allow for the applicant to make changes to the proposal.

Objections from the public included loss of habitat, light pollution and increased traffic although a consultant for the applicant said no private cars would be allowed.

The only objection to the use of the site itself came from the ESG. However the Deputy Town Planner explained the bar was set very high when talking of the Upper Town and only a small scale hotel would conform to policy. This hotel, he said was larger than what would be acceptable in the Nature Reserve. Other members of the Commission, including the Heritage Trust, agreed with this.

This story has been amended for accuracy.