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External lift will ‘deface’ Parliament, Heritage Trust says

The Board of Trustees of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust has written to the Minister for Heritage, Steven Linares, expressing “profound disappointment and deep concern” over plans to install a lift outside the Gibraltar Parliament building.

In the letter, the Trust describes the application as “highly contentious” and said it “threatened to deface one of our most historically significant buildings.”

The Trust states that it would never want to deprive anyone from attendance and participation in the process of government, but “strongly object” to the location of this structure which would “deface” Mackintosh Square as well as our Parliament Building.

Outlining the significance of the building to the local community, the Trust said: “This building is a listed historical edifice that was built by public subscription as a retort to the local population being denied access to the military run Garrison Library.”

The Executive and Commercial Library committee was “instrumental” in achieving many rights for Gibraltarians during the change from fortress to colony, the Trust added.

“This led to a freedom to trade that helped to make Gibraltar a prosperous community.”

The Trust said it continues to play a vital part in the Gibraltarian story by being the seat of the Rock’s freely elected Parliament.

The Trust was consulted when the Government made known its intention to install a lift to the building in order to provide disability access to the public gallery.

“We are in agreement with Government that all persons, regardless of their physical ability, should have access to the process of Government,” the Trust said.

“However, as a historical monument, set in the very centre of our town, we maintain that the external structure of the building should be conserved and not damaged or defaced with modern installations as much as possible.”

The Trust was involved in the consultations regarding this installation and objected to Planning consent via the Development and Planning Commission.

Subsequently, and together with the City Archaeologist, the Trust acquiesced to the installation of the lift away from the main facades of the Mackintosh Square and Main Street.

The Trust are now informed that the lift is to be sited facing John Mackintosh Square.

“We have written to the Deputy Chief Minister, Minister of Heritage and Minister for the Environment expressing our disappointment.”