Gibraltar to press on with $300m land reclamation scheme despite Spanish opposition

A €300m plan to build housing on reclaimed land in Gibraltar is to go ahead despite diplomatic objections from Spain.

The Victoria Keys scheme is being financed by Harbour Developments, a consortium of local investors. The plan is to build around  120,000 sq m of housing with associated amenities on around 60,000 sq m of dredged-up land.

The project has been designed by local firm McLundie Architects in partnership with Geddes Architects, its London-based sister company. Both McLundie and Geddes have designed the masterplan.

According to a statement from the government of Gibraltar, the costs of reclaiming the land will be financed by a government-owned company. Harbour Developments will be granted a lease for half of the northern side of the reclaimed plot and the government will take a 20% ownership stake in Harbour.

Spain is objecting to the project on the grounds that the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the War of Spanish Succession, ceded the land to England but kept the surrounding waters for Spain. 

The plan was first put forward in 2019, but delayed by the Covid-19 crisis. At the time, Fabián Picardo, Gibraltar’s chief minister, said: "Programmes like these ensure that new companies seeking to relocate to Gibraltar can find refuge for themselves and their workers.

"Most importantly, it also provides more housing for the locals, which has proven unsatisfactory due to the popularity of the newer private developments."

This comes as Gibraltar announced it was free of Covid for the first time in 10 months, after vaccinating its entire adult population.

Image: The government of Gibraltar’s rendering of the Victoria Keys scheme

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  1. A low cost project in the total scheme of things. I have been to Gilbralta and knows how small it is, how narrow are the roads. I support this expansion. The plan looks inviting and if available, I hope to invest in one unit.

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