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Govt unveils plans for new affordable housing scheme

The Gibraltar Government has launched its latest affordable housing project, called Chatham Views, to be built on the site of the now closed Westside Secondary School.

A total of 228 homes will be created, with one block purely for rentals having 44 purpose-built flats for the elderly, each with their own parking spaces directly underneath the block.

The remaining 184 flats will consist of four one-bedroomed properties, 34 two-bedroomed, 106 three-bedroomed and 40 flats with four bedrooms.

These flats will be offered for sale on a 100% basis and can also be purchased on a 50/50 basis, with no advantage being derived by purchasing 100%.

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Prices for the flats will be available as from mid-August, applying the same costing formula as for Hassan Centenary Terraces and Bob Peliza Mews.

Works on Chatham Views will start after the summer once all essential items from Westside have been moved to the new school.

“Construction cannot start until we have moved out the schools there would be a health and safety issue if we tried to do it otherwise,” said the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, at a press conference yesterday.

Piling for the homes will coincide with the piling required for both Bishop Fitzgerald and Governor Meadows School which will be adjacent to Chatham Views. The building of the schools will finish prior to completion on Chatham Views.

“The worst part of building which is the piling will all happen at the same time in order to ensure that the children do not have to go through a piling,” said Mr Picardo.

The Minister for Housing, Samantha Sacramento, said the development would help elderly members of Gibraltar’s community.

“I am particularly pleased that we are continuing the model of providing purpose-built rental flats for the elderly within this estate so that we can maximise the community feel and, of course, this will deliver a direct knock-on effect to the housing rental stock by increasing it in this way,” she said.

"The development of these three estates is the culmination of great effort between the Ministry for Housing, the Chief Technical Officer, Land Property Services and the architects to ensure that we can maximise the number of homes that we could make available to our community.”

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Mr Picardo said that building affordable homes lays the foundations for building more Gibraltarian families.

“These are the building blocks of the longevity and strength of our nation's future,” he said.

“The massive amount of interest in these homes and the huge take up we have seen of those we have already put on the market demonstrates that we have chosen the right designs, we have managed to reach the right price point and that we are building the numbers of homes required.”

“There will, no doubt, be negative comments, there always are on everything. But the vast majority of our people will see we have done the right thing by making these choices and delivering these options.”

The Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, was also at the press conference.

He said: “The construction of homes for our people is in the public interest and therefore a policy priority for the Government. The provision of housing on this plot was announced some time back. Our track record shows that when we make a commitment to a housing scheme we then see it through from concept design to construction.”

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To date, the government said, the number of affordable homes that have been offered for sale in this wave of affordable housing including this development, Hassans Centenary Terraces and Bob Peliza Mews are 1248 properties.

The government said that the impact of Chatham Views on the housing list is unknown at present, with another factor being the sale of properties in Bob Peliza Mews due to commence as from next week.

Ms Sacramento, said: “We will have a better indication of numbers once we close the application process.”
“We will be able to reflect those applications alongside the housing waiting list and obviously deduct those who have already committed to purchase.”

According to the Government website, there are 1,103 applicants on the housing list as at May 31. 840 of these are for one bedroom, 74 for a two bedroom, 117 for a three bedroom, 67 for a four bedroom, four for a five bedroom and one for a six bedroomed home.

These figures do not take into account applicants on other lists such as medical or who have had their rent relief terminated.

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The priority for sale at Chatham Views will remain the same as for Hassan Centenary Terraces and Bob Peliza Mews.

Priority will be given first to people in government rental accommodation, followed by applicants on the housing waiting list not eligible for a one-bedroomed home.

The priority list continues with applicants eligible for a one bedroom; applicants eligible to apply for government rented housing but not on the housing waiting list; applicants who - other than because they already previously owned property- would be eligible to apply for housing; applicants who are meritorious upgraders. This group would be sorted and prioritised depending on their housing needs.

Next, it will be applicants wishing to upgrade or transfer from their currently owned accommodation. This group would be sorted by way of a draw.

Then applicants resident in Gibraltar but not falling into any of the above categories, this group would also be sorted by way of a draw.

Any remaining apartments will be sold by way of tender to the highest bidder.

Further information is available at www.chathamviews.gi