PLANNING approval has been given for the redevelopment of the derelict Old Casino building (which will become The Reserve) and was a victory for the preservation of heritage buildings in Gibraltar and will become the greenest building ever.
Members of the planning committee stressed that they would never allow new building in this location – however, with it being a replacement building, allocated within the Gibraltar Development Plan for residential development in this specific location, it was finally approved.
In respect of thinking green, the development will feature a range of different indigenous plants and trees which will cover walls and roofs and with 46 trees will double the number being removed to allow for the construction.
Investment is to be made into a custom designed monorail cradle system to provide a sustainable form of maintenance access for various cascading and climbing plants on the West elevation which are to be fixed onto wires to provide vertical walls of green throughout the development.
Another environmental concession required of the developer has been to deliver a sustainable rainwater harvesting solution for the project.
The result is that the approved scheme features a completely reworked rainwater harvesting strategy, with a 400 per cent increase in tank volume and the introduction of an innovative system to dechlorinate waste swimming pool water so it irrigates the plants and trees.
From a heritage perspective, the developer has committed to protect, preserve and future proof the heritage tanks that sit below the site, creating again a unique backstory for future residents of The Reserve.
With the removal of the mock limestone (concrete) bund wall at the Europa Road frontage of the tanks, the original limestone ashlar blockwork of the original tank walls will be revealed for the first time in generations, as well as drastically improving the visibility on Europa Road for road users and pedestrians alike, reducing the chance of accidents in an accident prone section of road.