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23rd June 2022, 18:22

​Outline planning permission granted for 5-star hotel and residential development to replace Caleta Hotel

The Development and Planning Commission has granted outline planning permission for a 5-star hotel and residential development on the site of the former Caleta Hotel.

The application received this approval in principle, on the basis that the applicants move towards redesigning aspects of the project, including heights and massing.

The analysis of the proposed Catalan Bay hotel project by the Development and Planning Commission was a lengthy one.

Developer, Bruno Callaghan, said the hotel which would replace the now-closed Caleta Hotel would continue to be Gibraltarian family-owned, but with an international brand.

Patrick Gomez of GC Architects described the new design as both “contemporary” and “Mediterranean”. Mr Gomez also presented an informal suggestion for a redesign, which would stagger the height of the proposed buildings, but also extend the development further southward over what is currently not a built-up area.

Environmental consultant, Tom Hardy, acknowledged some effect on the character of Catalan Bay, but concluded that the change in skyline is an “inevitable part” of the progress of Gibraltar.

Three objectors spoke at the meeting.

Dion Darham said the design was incompatible with Gibraltar's Mediterranean and colonial urban character, calling it "purely functional and utterly forgettable."

Nicholas Martin asked the developers to create a hotel that has "continuity with Catalan Bay".

And Chris Riddell, on behalf of the Catalan Bay senior committee, argued against the suggested extension of the hotel southwards on the grounds that sea views should be free for all Gibraltarians to enjoy.

He also called for a condition to be set down that the project cannot increase the amount of shade over the beach from its current level; the architect said the effect was very minimal and limited to December.

The Town Planning department said it had serious concerns over the heights and massing of the north and south residential buildings. However, it said the hotel would bring “high-end tourism” to Gibraltar, adding it would work with the applicant to reduce the impact.

Town Planning recommended that the application be approved on the basis that the applicants move towards a scheme that would be acceptable at full planning level.

Outline permission was granted by majority, with the Environmental Safety Group voting against and the Ministry of Defence abstaining.

The full application will be subject to public participation to allow the submission of comments.