Minister for Housing Announces Next Phase of Major Refurbishments to Housing Estates

Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar is extremely proud of its track record of investment in the refurbishment of the existing rental housing stock.

During two terms of office, the Ministry for Housing has led on a major refurbishment programme and has already completed, or is nearing completion of works at Gibraltar’s major housing estates at:

Glacis Estate
Laguna Estate
New Police Barracks
Moorish Castle Estate
MacFarlane House
Anderson House
Alameda Estate
Sandpits House
Catalan Bay
Bishop Canilla House

These works have formed part of the Government’s Capital Works Refurbishment Programme.

The Ministry for Housing has a programme to continue to refurbish the remaining estates over a 10 year period. This programme is divided in 2 phases and the Government is today announcing the works that it will undertake during the first phase of that programme over the next five years.

The programme will include the following estates:

Varyl Begg Estate

Varyl Begg Estate is the next largest of the remaining estates, housing more than 650 families, which will benefit from a major refurbishment.

Since the original construction of these buildings in the 1970s there have been periodic refurbishments and upgrading which have included the installation of new pitched roofs and the closing of atriums with translucent panels, the installation of lifts, the repainting of all blocks externally and the re-landscaping and modernisation of all external areas.

Back in 2014 and 2015, works were undertaken to the estate by installing new footpath paved surfaces and road resurfacing, together with infrastructure works.

The plan now is to undertake a major overhaul of its blocks to achieve the same standard as for the other newly refurbished estates. In particular there will be an upgrade to the quality of windows to double glazed aluminum sliding windows and the blocks will benefit from the application of new render systems in the same colour as the existing blocks, though more vivid, to improve the thermal and overall performance of the building facades.

The refurbishment will also provide the opportunity to tidy up facades and remove exposed service routes and conceal washing lines.

Chilton Court

Chilton Court will undergo a phased transformation throughout, with the central area of the estate benefitting from a significant amount of work. The estate recently went through some road management in 2014 where 25 parking spaces were added within the estate.

The estate-wide development will provide tenants of Chilton Court with these main elements: – new insulated render system
– replacement of existing roof coverings
– upgrading of existing windows

– new road and footpath surfaces
– more parking for both cars and motorbikes and more accessible parking – safer level crossings
– more amenities for tenants

– new planters for a greener living area – Inclusive access for all

The works will envisage the upgrading of the external facade with the application of a new insulated render system and new window units to double glazed.

A newly resurfaced tiled footpath will allow for easier cleaning and maintenance and a resurfaced road will mean a safer surface for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The proposed changes to the existing parking configuration will add a further 10 parking spaces.

The proposal includes 10 new level crossings to provide for safe and inclusive access, these will replace the plastic speed bumps that have been retrofitted.

A new and larger bin store will be constructed to replace the existing one to ensure that there is never an overflow of household waste

Edinburgh Estate

The works to Edinburgh Estate will be very similar to that undertaken at Chilton Court and will be completed over four phases.

In 2018 the roads were updated and parking bays were painted and new signage provided. The continued improvement will see the creation of further parking spaces, particularly motorcycle spaces within the estate.

A new road will be created between Victor Bashery House and William Thomson House connecting the two separate areas of the estate.This will allow for a new one-way system to be introduced within the Estate. The existing entrance on the western side of the estate by Bishop Canilla House will see a change from one way to two way traffic.

Willis’ House

We have already seen extensive refurbishment of blocks in the upper town, from all of Moorish Castle estate to MacFarlane House, Anderson House and the New Police Barracks, all of which have been completed. This together with the various urban renewal projects of pre war dwellings has already changed and enhanced the look and feel of this part of Gibraltar.

We will continue this area next with the refurbishment of Willis’ House.

The proposed major refurbishment works will be in line with that achieved with those recently refurbished. It will entail the provision of a new mono pitched roof, the application of a new specialist insulated render system and the replacement of windows with double glazed units. There will also be works to the communal stairwell and landing areas in the form of re-tiling and redecoration and there will be a general uplift to the building.

Coelho House

Moving to the South District, where works to Sandpits House have been completed and Alameda Estate is almost complete, the next refurbishment will be to Coelho House.

Coelho House certainly needs improvement, it has been riddled with problems caused by rain water penetration for some time and will experience a complete transformation in the coming months.

The proposed works will be very much in line with the others and will include a mono pitched roof, new specialist render insulation system, composite double glazed window units and works to communal areas.

Knight’s Court

Knight’s Court is a significant estate and provides for more than 100 homes. Over the years, this block has experienced issues with rainwater ingress and to date patch up repairs have been the norm. We are now able to offer the tenants of this block the benefit of a significant upgrade as part of the capital works programme.

The building will receive an in-depth external refurbishment of the facade, corridors, stairwells and roof areas and other ancillary works to the surrounding area. In effect the main areas to be attended to will be :

– Provision of a new mono pitched roof to allow for a clothes drying area where required – Refurbishment of all facades with a proprietary insulated render system
– Replacement of all existing windows and balcony doors with double glazed units
– Renovation to all internal common areas, corridors patios and stairwells

– Renovation of bin store area

– Works to the pathway leading to the lower parking area, together with the refurbishment of the parking itself

– Works to the lower middle entrance

Schomberg

Schomberg, also a block that provides a substantial number of homes, will also see a significant amount of investment, very much along the lines of that which has been outlined for Knight’s Court.

In addition to the major facade uplift, providing a weather proof membrane throughout by providing a new specialist insulation render system, the building will see the installation of new windows and mono-pitched roof.

The much needed embellishment and refurbishment will now give these estates an upgrade. The works will be phased throughout a five year period starting with the buildings which need it most. The tender process will now commence so this should see the first works commencing in the new year.

The Ministry for Housing will be working with the respective tenants’ associations as the different phases of the works are planned and delivered.

The Chief Minster the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP said “The transformation of our major housing estates is there for all to see. We have tackled the forgotten estates at Glacis, Laguna and Moorish Castle and others that were so neglected by the GSD in favour of luxury developments.

As a Government, we have demonstrated a track record in investment in improving our rental stock and with every project we learn to do it better. The Ministry for Housing has a focused 10 year plan during which they will complete the refurbishment of the remaining rental stock.

It must be remembered that the projects that have been undertaken already and those that we are yet to do relate to estates where our tenants continue to live. This means that they have to be managed carefully and properly to minimise disruption during the course of the works. This is not an easy task but i have the full confidence that the management team at the Ministry for Housing will do so in the best possible way.

I have no doubt that once these works are complete, theses buildings will look and feel brand new.

Minister for Housing Samantha Sacramento MP “Tenants of our rental housing estates are important to us and we want to ensure that they live in an environment that is modern and fit for purpose. We are mindful of the massive investment in refurbishing and upgrading the major housing estates that we have already undertaken very successfully and we would like to bring the remainder of the rental housing stock in line with what we have already achieved.

This refurbishment provides a great improvement, not just aesthetically, but also to the quality of the buildings in which our tenants live. From an ecological standpoint, careful consideration has been given throughout our refurbishment programme to the use of energy efficient designs and materials in a concerted effort to leave the lightest possible footprint on the environment.

These major works have massive logistical difficulties and complications and I would like to thank the teams at the Ministry for Housing who have led on the project management as well as our various subcontractors for delivering the works that have been completed to a high standard and I look forward to seeing this experienced team now delivering on the improvement and enhancement as a result of the new projects that have been announced today.