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Action for Housing calls for urban decay to be tackled

The Gibraltar Government has failed to explain how it intends to address the ‘serious problem’ of Gibraltar’s empty and decaying buildings, Action for Housing said yesterday.

Urban decay was recently the subject of a Viewpoint programme on GBC in which the pressure group drew attention to some of the Upper Town’s crumbling and derelict buildings.

“After having seen the Viewpoint programmes which were the Government’s follow up to Action for Housing’s programme on urban decay, we have been disappointed at the scant attention given to the issues of urban decay which we raised,” the group said in a statement.

The group adds that it was under the impression that the Government’s attention was focused on what they are doing in other areas such as the renovation of the Northern Defences, the suspension bridge, and the glass look-out, “so as to deflect attention from the issues we mentioned in our programme”.

The only issues which dealt with the question of urban decay were the renovation of derelict buildings to construct a Boutique Hotel in the heart of the upper town, Action for Housing said.

Nonetheless, this demonstrates how old vacant buildings can be renovated and given a new lease of life.

The programme also prompted the Government to say how they intend to deal with the large derelict site by the entrance to Vineyard’s Estate.

The group further welcomed news from the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, that the landlord and Tenants Ordinance is to be reviewed.

“To learn about these projects was interesting and is welcomed. However, we think Government has failed to explain how they intend to address the serious problem of urban decay as highlighted by us, and particularly the question of empty and decaying buildings, both Government and privately owned.”

“We once again urge the government to tackle this urban blight in a more resolute and far reaching way, to stop the rot, and start reversing decades of urban neglect, which, as we have seen is serious and widespread,” the group stated.

Photo by David Parody

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