New Town in land reclamation plan
|The PDP say that if in government they would adopt a comprehensive, imaginative and radical strategy to tackle the long-standing issues of housing and urban regeneration. This will be thorough and secure sustainable development.
The central aims of that strategy will be;
1. to resolve the housing problem through a combination of new build, repair of existing stock and a partial liberalisation of the private sector housing market;
2. to create a land bank in an environmentally acceptable fashion to allow the development of the economy and to provide for our social needs;
3. the establishment of a planned and sustainable approach to these policy areas;
4. to maximise the conservation of our heritage assets while allowing economic development;
5. to grow our economy and develop our tourism product in a sensitive way.
During the next few months the PDP will be announcing the elements of its overall strategy. Taken together, these will lead to the creation of a "New Town" in an ambitious land reclamation project.
Further details of the specifics of this land reclamation will be announced by the PDP in due course but the proposed reclamation projects would be divided into "Residential New Town", "Tourism and Leisure", and "Commercial" zones.
The New Town would be a mix of residential with a range of housing. It would include sufficient parking, public transport and social facilities and amenities. This would contain parks and recreational areas that would enhance the quality of life of our citizens.
More than 1500 low cost homes would be built over 10 years. The current Government's so-called affordable housing is beyond the financial reach for many people. Houses built by a PDP administration would genuinely be within the purchasing power of a much greater number of families. Home ownership would be encouraged with a shared private-public partnership. Private contribution would start at no more than three times annual earnings.
In addition, the PDP would provide homes for rental for those not able to buy. There would be a programme of providing and adapting Housing for Special Needs. Environmental impact studies and thorough and widespread consultation would be a prerequisite to this ambitious project.
The party says that under a PDP government Gibraltarians "will never again have to live in Spain out of necessity because there are insufficient houses in Gibraltar or because they have been priced out of the market because the balance of priorities towards luxury housing is wrong."
The "New Town" project will also give way to the regeneration of parts of the old town that has sadly been allowed to become a ghetto environment. The old town will be subjected to major overhaul and conservation. It will be decongested and commercialised to expose its own natural and historical beauty including the exposure of the northern defences. The PDP believe that the old town should be the pride of Gibraltar and could become a more important pillar in a well planned tourist experience. Details of the old town and its role in a strategic tourist development plan will form part of a separate policy announcement on "Tourism and the Living Environment"
They add: There is no doubt that vigorous action is needed. In planning any policy in this field it is important to consider that all these fields are inter-related. Traditionally successive Governments have handled all these policies in a disconnected way. The PDP recognises the necessary link between the areas of public and private sector housing, heritage, urban renewal, development, planning, land allocation and land reclamation.
The PDP is therefore launching its policy on the BUILT ENVIRONMENT which will encompass policy commitments across this wide spectrum of areas namely;
1. Public Sector Housing
2. Private Sector Housing
3. Urban Renewal and Regeneration
4. Urban Heritage
7. Land Allocation
"The clear objective of such a comprehensive strategy would be to regenerate our city centre, safeguard and sensitively conserve our urban heritage, unblock the public sector housing pressure, enhance and regenerate the private sector pre-war housing, increase public amenities and enhance the quality of life of our citizens. An overall approach to these matters is important to be able to comprehensively deal with all the elements of the strategy. We will be rolling out individual policies across this wide range of areas in coming months so as to be able to comprehensively tackle these areas of need," said PDP Leader Keith Azopardi