13th January 2022, 20:13
"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.” This according to the shadow minister for planning Damon Bossino, who's reiterated the questions asked.
It says the Opposition understands the project is instigated privately and on private land adding no one requires to be patronisingly lectured on this point.
For its part, the Government says it regrets the tone and the content of the Opposition's statement. It says its only objective seems to be to confuse and mislead public opinion.
The Opposition wants to know whether the Government supports the project as currently envisaged. What premium has been paid to allow the project to proceed. Has change of use and any required extensions of leases been granted?
The GSD Opposition also asks whether the Government expects 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, it says requires full disclosure of the agreement reached between the developers and Government.
Damon Bossino asks the developers to rethink the project to come up with more sensitive plans, saying these appear to be driven by a desire for further luxury housing for the benefit of very few but the impact of many.
A GSD Government, he says, would not consent the development, as currently envisaged, from proceeding.
He adds 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, saying they should state whether they will support the plans which have attracted so much criticism and concern.
However, the Government believes the Opposition is showing considerable disrespect and contempt for the public, for the planning process and for the DPC. Members of the DPC, it says, whether Ministers or not, are expected to give their views in meetings of the Commission and not at the whim of any Opposition spokesman.
It adds the Opposition must understand that the final shape of any project will not be known until it has gone through the planning process. It believes it's therefore a waste of time to become heated up about this or any planning application because the final project may end up being completely different, as happened the last time that a development on that site was considered.