Friday, February 18, 2005

Developers insist project will be greatly beneficial

Funicular developers 21st Century Rock and consultant architect Brian Francis have responded to the criticisms made by the opponents of the plan, appealing to the backing of what they consider to be Gibraltar’s “silent majority.

“We are encouraged by the support received from many ordinary citizens. Many are confused, and when we explain the project in detail, they have immediately seen its overall benefits,” Mr Francis said yesterday.

In an interview with the Chronicle Leslie Ratcliffe, director of the firm behind the £15m project, and Mr Francis, said that it will provide “a new dimension to the tourist product in Gibraltar” and open up “new opportunities for everyone including those who currently feel threatened by it.”

The developers emphasise environmentally friendly qualities such as the top-station design that is able to generate electricity from the levanter winds and the re-cycling of the excavated limestone for construction purposes. They also reassure residents who are worried by the project that all tunnelling would commence from Hayes Level, up and down, “so that only at the last moment of opening up the entrance and exit would there be any disturbance.”

The developers plan to carry out an international marketing campaign to promote Gibraltar, while stating that there are several immediate benefits that would come with the project such as a public transport system to a congested area such as Moorish Castle.

Meanwhile Mr Francis has also declared that the graphics which the opposing groups are using to illustrate their arguments have been “totally distorted” are “five times larger than the proposed project, and in the wrong location.” Referring to their “narrow views,” Mr Francis says that “unfortunately, only the negative aspects have been highlighted, and often in a very exaggerated manner.”

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