The Gibraltar Mental Welfare Society would like to express its concerns at the way the assisted living residence at Sandpits, Racquets, has come into being. The Development and Planning Commission meeting of the 17/12/20 clearly shows how this development completely circumvented the proper process which should have been followed. The applicant has now retrospectively applied for permission, in the wake of several complaints by residents in the area. The application was approved even though some on the DPC Board were strongly against setting such a bad precedent.
Although the GMWS clearly supports the introduction of supported living units in the community, and is disappointed at the reluctance on the part of some to accept this kind of accommodation in their midst, it is totally against these being established without the proper transparency of process.
The Commission heard how Dr Gandia, the Director at Meddoc, had originally bought the said house as “ a family home”. Dr Gandia assured those present that there had been “no malicious intent” underlying this purchase. However, this family home, was subsequently converted into an assisted living space for six service users, without an application to the DPC for this change of use. What concerns the GMWS most is the fact that according to the applicant himself, this was intended to be a family home, and so was not chosen for its suitability as an assisted living unit. The Society would be very keen to know what assessments were carried out to determine that this house should indeed be turned over to a totally new purpose.
In the course of the DPC meeting, it was made clear that the intention is for there to be many more such units of assisted living in the community. The GMWS strongly applauds this intention, but only if it is carried out in an open way and following the correct procedures, unlike in the case of Racquets, which leaves many crucial questions unanswered.