Rosia Tanks issue hits UK headlines

The Rosia Tanks controversy has now hit the headlines in the UK, with The Times publishing a report on it by their architecture correspondent Marcus Binney under the headline 'Nelson caves to be turned into car park'.

It says: A REMARKABLE monument to British naval power that was built on the eve of the battle of Trafalgar 200 years ago is in imminent danger of destruction by developers in Gibraltar. Under heavy pressure from the Gibraltar Government and the Irish development company OEM International, the Gibraltar Heritage Trust withdrew last week an injunction delaying the construction of a block of 200 flats on top of the Rosia Water Tanks, a series of underground caverns built in 1799-1804 to supply fresh water to Royal Navy ships. Lionel Culatto, a local historian, says that the tanks are huge and awe-inspiring. ?There are six parallel chambers dug out of the natural rock and vaulted in brick brought from Britain.

They are about 30 to 40ft wide and over 150ft long. They are floored in flat bricks like Roman tiles. Each tank feeds into the next, so the water was steadily purified.? The developers plan to destroy the tanks to provide underground car parking for the flats, which will dominate Rosia Bay, where the Victory was repaired after the battle of Trafalgar, says The Times.

The articles quotes from authoritative opinions expressing concern about the destruction of the tanks. It adds that conservationists have appealed to Sir Francis Richards, the Governor or Gibraltar, to list the structure before the bulldozers move in.