Equality Rights Group has today ‘pledged full support, including legal, to residents of Varyl Begg Estate in their opposition to the proposed loss of an important free landscaped square within the housing complex. We must not be strangled and suffocated by increasing housing density in this community,’ Chairman Felix Alvarez has added.
This comes after Varyl Begg residents answered a well-attended call to demonstrate their opposition to Government plans to re-site the premises of the Varyl Begg Social Club, 'allegedly to make room for a further housing block', claims the ERG statement.
ERG’s 2016 publication ‘From Town to City’ already warned of the way Gibraltar was moving and the implications this would have not only for our built environment but for the quality of life of our people, and in the relationship between citizens and Government.
‘We are not proud to note that, in this particular instance at Varyl-Begg, the very fact that such a plan should even have been conceived without first informing and consulting Varyl-Begg residents is already a lamentable, if not arrogant mistake. Indeed to impose, it would appear, a decision made in ‘high places’ by fencing off the walk-through area as the only means to informing people living in the Estate is wholly insensitive and unfortunate. It is not unnatural that this behaviour should have worried and angered residents,’ the group stated.
‘While it’s mainly those who can afford very exclusive prices who are now able to enjoy the sea-views and vistas which for so long formed a part of our Gibraltarian legacy in common ownership to all, it would appear that ordinary people are increasingly being priced out of the natural enjoyment that even the sight of our own Rock has always provided. A built environment has to be as sensitively and as equitably handled as our natural environment, and we are unconvinced that this current move is in the interests of people living at Varyl Begg. It’s time to signal that the community has had enough of denser and denser development.
‘ERG stands fully with residents at VBE, and we are here to assist and help in any way called to do so in resisting this ill-considered move. Gibraltar must and will inevitably develop. But this can never be by sacrificing the quality of life of ordinary working people. Because that is not ‘development’, that is impoverishing all our lives in this community. We therefore urge the Minister for Housing to reconsider,’ Mr. Alvarez closed.