The Government is set to double the number of car parking spaces at Grand Parade and will table detailed proposals before the Development and Planning Commission in the coming weeks.
The proposal will deliver about 900 car parking spaces in an area which can presently only accommodate about 400 spaces.
In coming to this view, the Government has listened to the feedback and complaints that residents of the area have voiced over the years about the difficulty of finding parking and Government has therefore taken into account the fact that a car parking problem has long existed there. Grand Parade has traditionally been used by both those residing within the immediate area and others living slightly beyond.
A spokesperson for the Govt said that this car-parking facility will follow the construction of numerous other car parks over the years at Devil’s Tower Road, Engineer Lane, Theatre Royal, Calpe, Mid-Town, South Pavilion and Eastern Beach.
"Data collected as part of the STTPP has shown that the town centre, especially the southern end of town, is the worst area of Gibraltar in terms of car parking availability with the lowest ratio of car parking spaces to dwellings. To this end, this development within Grand Parade will also have a hugely positive impact on the lives of persons who live at the southern end of town.
The proposal will consist of residential car parking, pay and display, spaces for sale, lock-up garages for sale, monthly rentals, loading-bays, drop-off bays and spaces for disabled users. There will also be a number of commercial units on the ground floor which will face on to the street, bringing new commercial activity to the area. The design avoids a blank car park façade precisely as a result of the location of these commercial units.
The first priority for the sale of car parking spaces and lock-up garages and monthly rentals in this new scheme will be given to residents of Alameda Estate, Trafalgar House and the southern town area in the near vicinity of the proposed new car park aimed to address the traditional existing shortfall of parking.
The overriding policy is that nobody will be worse off than they are at present. This means that the existing number of parking spaces within Grand Parade will be maintained, the distribution of which will be governed by the Residential Parking Scheme as is being developed within the STTPP. In keeping with Government’s environmental policy this parking facility will be fitted with electrical charging points, making the facility ‘future proof’.
The innovative design means that the building will be visually perceived as a single storey because the intention is that the upper levels will be stepped back, hence reducing the building’s impact.
The Eastern boundary with the Alameda Gardens will include the vehicle ramps, located there in order to allow for a stepping down of the building line. This boundary will be softened with a new tree line to relate visually to the Alameda backdrop and a green wall will also be provided in order to mask the ramps. The new trees will also act as both a visual and acoustic screen from Alameda into the car park itself.
The external cladding of the car park will use natural colours to combine with the green backdrop, and will create enclosure whilst allowing views through the façade and encouraging natural air flow. The internal design aims to minimise vehicular congestion at the entrance, by having separate up and down ramps away from the entrance areas. The internal design also aims to improve internal pedestrian circulation and inclusive accessibility with three lift/stair cores at strategic corners.
The Alameda Gardens entrance gates and steps are an important feature of the site and will remain so. The proposals retain and celebrate the view towards the gates and steps and form a front forecourt, leaving sight lines open from the adjacent approach. The cannons facing the parade will be retained and restored to a new prominent emplacement within this new forecourt.
The project design will be developed to a high standard of sustainability and will incorporate passive and active energy saving measures to achieve high levels of efficiency for this building type."
The Minister for Traffic Paul Balban said: “This proposal will help relieve the huge demand for car parking that already exists primarily in Alameda Estate, Trafalgar House, south Main Street and the southern Upper Town. It will address the acute shortfall of parking, which is especially important in view of the residential parking scheme proposed in the area of town.”
The Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia, who has been involved in his capacity as Minister for Lands, said: “Several proposals for high-rise developments on Grand Parade itself have been made to different Governments over the years. The current proposal is low-rise and makes better use of the existing land resources. It provides very real public gains in an area that is desperate for more car parking spaces. Grand Parade has long been earmarked for a parking development both by the previous administration and by this one. Indeed, this is not the first time that such a proposal has been made. The fact that the car park will be located outside the City Walls in what is virtually the entrance to the southern end of Main Street will be good news for visitors and good news for residents.”
The tabling of this project before the Development and Planning Commission will mark the formal start of the consultation process with all interested parties.