Ocean Village historical developments
With all the new developments planned at Ocean Village / Marina Bay, it is interesting to read historical debates and articles on the subject.
The Gibraltar Chronicles article below makes for a fascinating read to give some background on past deals and bargains:
Thursday, 26th January 2012
The GSLP/Liberal government is seeking legal advice to see if it can pull back from an agreement signed days before the general election which, it claims, is “scandalous”. It claims Government has lost out on £4m as a result.
In a statement last night No6 said it has investigated the deal that was negotiated and signed by the previous administration with the Ocean Village group nine days before they called the general election.
“When in Opposition and during the general election campaign, calls were made for the then GSD Government to publish the deal. They failed to do so. In the public interest and in keeping with the position that we took during the general election, the new Government has decided to publish the deal in full so that the electorate can judge for themselves whether this represented a good deal for the taxpayer,” said No 6.
The GSLP/Liberal government says it is in no doubt that the deal was rushed through for electoral reasons in order to accommodate the promise made by the previous administration to provide more berths for small boats.
“It will be recalled that on 19th October 2011 a Government press release announced their intention to construct 221 new moorings for small boat owners parallel to the runway and adjacent to Marina Bay. They said at the time that there had been “protracted negotiations with the developers of Marina Bay who own these waters”. However, no details were made available as to the nature of the negotiations and what the developers had been given in exchange,” said the No6 statement.
It said that this area of water next to the runway was valued at £267,000 in October 2006 and that it was sold to the Ocean Village group before the 2007 general elections. “In a deal signed just before they called the 2011 elections, the Government assumed public ownership of the waters once more. The information available to the new Government indicates that this has cost the taxpayer millions of pounds in premiums and other fees that have been simply waived and brushed aside by the previous administration.”
The deal with the Ocean Village group is summarised by No 6 as follows.
– Gardens of Beauty (site of old Casino in Europa Road): No objection by the Government to the extension of the planning permit to 31st July 2014.
No premium to be charged for such an extension. The extension to the planning permit has not been valued.
– Old Key Transport Site: No objection to planning application. No premium to be charged for new 150 year lease, even though the grant of the lease was valued at £125,000. The entirety of the proposed development was outside the Ocean Village demised areas. The company only had a license over a small part of the site.
– Tourist Information Kiosk Government would not object to the Ocean Village group building a tourist information kiosk in the south-west corner of Majestic Ocean Plaza.
– Car parking requirements: No objection to ratio of 1 parking space for each 180m2 of commercial space, 1:1.2 parking spaces for residential except studio apartments where it is 1:1, 200 parking spaces for visitors for the Marina Bay and Ocean Village areas, for Royal Ocean Plaza ratio to be 1:1. The agreement is silent on the question of additional development rights obtained with the latest planning permits which is valued at between £2.36 million and £2.8 million.
– Presence at the cruise liner terminal and coach park Government permits: Ocean Village to have presence at Cruise Liner Terminal to promote Ocean Village. Signage at Coach Park advertising facilities, amenities located in Ocean Village/Marina Bay. No premium or charge for this presence.
– The Waterside Villas: Government to support Outline Planning Application, no further premium. Government to support vehicular access to villas. This is an additional development area of 1060 m2 valued at £196,000. Vehicular access means that the aim is for cars to drive into Marina Bay in between Tradewinds and the Mexican restaurant and then proceed (in the direction of what is now the sea), up a parallel access road, towards the project.
– Sails: Government will not object to enclosing and change of use of the terraces in the Sails 1 and Sails 2 and in the future of Sails 3. This is the area on top of the restaurants. No premium charged. This would have been £32,500 premium in each case.
– Fourth floor Leisure Island: Change of use from Leisure to office valued at £400,000. Premium will not be charged.
– Lucas Imossi Site: Approved already for residential use. No premium charged. Premium value of redevelopment of the site to residential is £1.1 million. No objection if they apply for a scheme that involves office block or hotel. No premium to be charged either.
– Watergardens area of water: Gradual reduction of berths and at end of the process lease over area of water for 150 years with no premium on the same terms as waters they already hold. This has not been valued given the gradual approach.
– Government tenders: Government will put out tender for 15,000 m2 of office space. Then goes on to stipulate the terms and conditions of the tender. When tender awarded land shall be leased for 150 years at a nominal rent. If a company that is already building or about to build office accommodation is awarded the tender then they would have 72 months from the date of commencement to complete the development.
– Dry stacking and storage facility: A section of land on possible Western Beach reclamation designated to Ocean Village group for dry staking and general storage purposes. Will be provided elsewhere if there is no reclamation. 150 year lease at nominal rent and payment of £10,000 for the lease. With direct access to the sea and the public highway such as to permit articulated lorries.
– Development Aid: No objection and no charge or premium in respect of any Development Aid Application of 40% in respect of World Trade Centre.
Commenting on the matter, Acting Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “This means that the lost income to the taxpayer as a result of the deal is about £4 million.
This loss came about in order to get back a strip of water that we are told was valued at less than £300,000. The new Government does not have the same interest in this strip of water and is taking advice on the deal that was signed only a matter of days before the previous administration became a caretaker Government. This is absolutely scandalous.”
The Chronicle approached Ocean Village for a response but no reply has been received before this article going to press.