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‘Tragedy’ to strip away former Gibraltar Chronicle printing site, Heritage Trust says

Archive photo by Johnny Bugeja.

Plans to relocate the Community Mental Health Team facility from Coaling Island to the old Gibraltar Chronicle printing works building was met with surprise by the Heritage Trust, who called the possible dilution of the interior a “tragedy”.

Hours after the announcement the Trust said it “failed to understand” how this could have been made “fait accompli” without any early consultations with heritage bodies being undertaken.

The Trust said it applauded the Minister’s desire for an “appropriate and much needed mental health facility”.

“It is clearly in the interest of our community to have our historic facilities and structures rejuvenated, renewed and useful, there are certain procedures and assessments that need to be undertaken as part of the Town Planning Process,” the Trust said.

It added that there has been no Heritage Desk Based Assessment being carried out to at least understand the value and requirements that such a conversion would require.

“The fabric of the building, with its art deco style interior and printing works machinery and ephemera would be an absolute tragedy to be diluted or potentially lost altogether,” the Trust said.

“The Gibraltar Chronicle is the second oldest English language newspaper in the world having been in continuous print since 1801.”

“This needs to be celebrated and showcased, not potentially stripped away.”

“The Government’s own Heritage Vision states that ‘joined up thinking and solid partnerships are required’ between all sectors, but certainly within Government Departments as a start.”

“We would add that there are other more accessible buildings in the near vicinity, such as the old Sergeants Mess Headquarters on Governors Parade (ex DSS building), that might be better suited for this much needed facility.”

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