A new application for 18-24 Town Range has been filed by the developer with Town Planning, with the revised project now focused on ‘assisted living’ homes for elderly people.
Outline planning permission was granted last August for a development of 22-24 Town Range, however, since then the developer Range Court Ltd has acquired the adjacent premises 18-20 Town Range. Therefore the whole application is for 18-24 Town Range.
The project at 22-24 Town Range which had previously gained approval comprised of two buildings with a small passageway in-between them.
The existing building on Town Range itself is presently four storeys tall and the building behind is two storeys. The applicant wanted to refurbish and create a new-built residential development.
The outline planning application was successful as the developer reduced the height of the building by two storeys as requested by Town Planning.
The developers also ascertained that in acquiring the new site of 18-20 it meant that access to the other sites would be eased and would help with the stripping-out, demolition and construction works.
The new application, for 18-24 Town Range, is for the demolition of “dilapidated” buildings at the rear, refurbishment and extension of existing buildings.
One major change is that the building will now be for assisted living homes and not normal residential homes as previously planned.
The change is as a result of the applicant and the design team studying the practical and economic feasibility of the project.
“The proposal is now for an assisted living scheme; which with an ageing population is considered to be a typology in strong demand. Given its central location, this site is thought to be particularly apt for this purpose,” states the design statement for the project.
Applications for developments that exceed the five floors allowed within the city walls in accordance with the Development Plan need to have a design statement explaining in detail the reasons why the developer is seeking permission to go above this.
Range Court Ltd, believe that assisted living is essential in Gibraltar due to “an increasingly ageing global population” an issue that they believe gives locals a degree area of concern.
“Residential premises generally are in short supply and command relatively high (and for many people prohibitive) prices, while options catering specifically for seniors are few and generally with demand heavily outweighing supply,” states the design statement.
The developer describes assisted living as an “option for seniors who can live independently but may also require some level of assistance.”
The development will consist of small self-contained units with communal services such as, basic housekeeping, laundry, supervision, security, social, health and exercise programs and access to medical services and specialists consultations.
The application seeks to convert the existing building into assisted living accommodation containing 48 studio units spread across two separate blocks with shared communal areas on the ground floor.
Each studio is to have a kitchenette facility, accessible wet room bathrooms and either Juliette or step-out balconies.
Regarding the economic viability of the project, the developer notes that the existing buildings to the front portion of the site require considerable refurbishment and structural repairs.
In addition, there could be asbestos in linings and roofing given the age of the building. These properties also show indications of water infiltration.
The rear portion of the site “is in a significant state of dilapidation” and there has been a partial collapse of the walkway, which originally provided access to the first floor level. The developer believes that this building will need to be demolished. This in itself gives rise to more complications as it shares boundary walls with premises to all four sides.
Another impact on the economic viability of the project is the lack of direct vehicular access and narrowness of the access to the rear of the site provides complications
The proximity of the site to other buildings will “require laborious logistical arrangements”, in both demolition and building work, states the design statement.
The developer acknowledges that economic considerations are not a matter for Town Planning, they wish to raise the fact it is a “significant factor as to why these premises have been in a state of neglect and dereliction for a significant amount of time. Any development on this site will need to overcome this sizeable challenge if the site is ever to be restored.”
Images courtesy of Arc Designs