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Road to the Lines will take time, Govt says

The Gibraltar Government has said the Road to the Lines will ‘take time to conclude’ following calls from Action for Housing for an update.

The Government said it was “very odd” for Action for Housing to conduct “megaphone diplomacy” in public without asking them through the proper channels.

The urban regeneration project was announced last year with the Government stating at the time that this would be a “long term project.”

“Road to the Lines is far from a standard tender, in the sense that it is not a plot of land or a single building but a large area which consists of many dwellings and alleyways,” the Government said in a press statement.

“It does have huge potential but its geography makes it more difficult to come to an agreement with a potential developer.”

“There were four parties interested in the site.”

“A discussion with the highest bidder led to the conclusion that they would not proceed with the proposed development.”

“Discussions then moved on to the next developer who wanted the time to conduct a more detailed survey, building by building and flat by flat, as a preliminary to taking matters further.”

“This is the process that is underway. There is nothing untoward about this kind of development taking time to materialise.”

The Government added it is important to get things right even if it takes a bit longer.

Delays have also been caused by a general election, a change of Ministerial portfolios and nearly three months of lockdown.

“In that context, it is remarkable that matters have continued to progress to where they are today,” the Government said.

It added: “If Action for Housing had telephoned or written to the Government before coming out in public, they would have been told that Road to the Lines was the subject of an Expressions of Interest which closed in October last year.”

Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said the Government continues to be firmly committed to a policy of urban regeneration.

“There are many Government projects that are examples of this like the conversion of the old St Bernard’s Hospital into two schools or the private development at the old Police Barracks which have transformed the area beyond recognition,” Dr Garcia said.

“In addition to this, the Government continues to decant tenants from the Upper Town in order to put buildings out to tender for re-development. There are many successful examples of this all over the Upper Town.”

“The plans for Road to the Lines represent a further ambitious continuation of this policy.

In short, the Government would have been more than happy to have updated Action for Housing had they asked to be updated.”

“Their representative was told at a recent meeting that our doors are always open and this continues to be the case.”