Gibraltar risks losing the UNESCO world heritage status of the Gorham’s cave complex if the Gibraltar Government pushes ahead with current plans for a new clay pigeon shooting range within the site.
The project at 3rd Europa Advance Battery involves demolishing an existing range and building a new one within the boundary of the heritage site, including disabled access, in time for the 2019 Island Games.
Heritage status does not prevent development within the site if its outstanding universal value, which includes authenticity and integrity, is not adversely affected, directly or indirectly.
But the Development and Planning Commission was told yesterday that the current plans do not fit in with the site’s heritage status.
“The development puts at risk the outstanding universal value of the site and puts the inscribed status at risk,” the Gibraltar’s World Heritage Office told the DPC, in a statement read to the meeting yesterday.
“The World Heritage Committee which monitors these sites could potentially put the site on a danger list until the issue is readdressed, in this case it would be permanent.”
“Or in the worst case scenario it could actually be removed from the list completely.”
The World Heritage Office view is that the application should be reviewed and an alternative site considered, the DPC meeting heard.
The Office considers the submitted plans to have adverse visual effect and that it would impact on the UNESCO World Heritage Site integrity and the key significant views of the site from the East. That view was closely scrutinised in the nomination process.
It also stated that there would be an adverse impact on the visitor experience because of the partial blocking of the view from the viewing platform that was inaugurated last month. The Office was also concerned about noise pollution and litter on the seabed.
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