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Govt accuses GSD of contradicting itself on East Side project

Eyleen Gomez

The Gibraltar Government has today lambasted the GSD, insisting that Opposition's position on rental housing on the Eastside project exposes contradictions in their own policies.
No.6 Convent Place was responding to a GSD statement last week in which the party said the Government should demand that any potential developer of the East Side reclamation plot should make provision for government rental housing.

This prompted “surprise” from the Government, which said such homes did not even feature in the GSD’s own plans for that location.

“This lack of consistency is what happens when a party jumps on every conceivable bandwagon for no reason other than to be critical of the Government,” No.6 said in a statement.

“It goes without saying that the Opposition are perfectly entitled to express whatever view they like on any subject.”

“However, they need to understand that this often exposes contradictions in their policies and in their actions which in turn raises questions about their credibility.”

The Government explained that the Expressions of Interest (EOI) process for the Eastside has just opened.

“It is surely premature to make observations at such an early stage when no entity has been selected and no proposals are on the table,” it said.

Additionally, the Government said the Opposition had failed to understand that the EOI process allows for negotiations with successful developers.

The EOI spells out in black and white that developers can put forward ideas for “different categories of housing.”

The Development Plan in existence, which was produced when the GSD were in office, does not identify the Eastside as a location specifically for rental housing.

When the GSD allocated the land for the project known as Sovereign Bay, they themselves did not provide for rental housing on that site, the Government said.

It added that the works to Hassan Centenary Terraces have already commenced on the northern end of the plot and that this will already provide hundreds of homes.

“To top it all off, even the 2019 GSD Manifesto does not specifically mention rental housing on the Eastside,” No.6 said.

The Government said it therefore considers that the prudent and responsible approach is to wait and see what proposals are made for the different plots and to then adopt a view.

“It does the Opposition no credit to jump blindly on every conceivable bandwagon without a proper understanding of the facts,” it added.