Ambitious Rooke project aims to create ‘healthy, sustainable and active hub’

Plans have been filed for a major new development on the Rooke site that will mix low-rise commercial spaces and green parks alongside three residential towers, in a project that the developer says aims to “drastically” improve the area.

The development, if granted permission, will bring an expansive green and active public space to a site that has remained derelict for several years.

The application was filed with the Town Planner and can be viewed online here It has yet to be discussed and approved by the Development and Planning Commission.

A design statement produced by WSRM Architects said the focus of the proposed development is to construct an area “to evoke activity and create interactions between the public and the spaces they use.”

“Aimed at promoting an active lifestyle among the local population, this natural park setting will provide various amenities such as a running track spanning the entire perimeter of the park creating a closed loop.”

“In addition, paddle courts, grass lawns for yoga and other recreational activities as well as a fully integrated cycle lane at road level stretching the entire perimeter of the site will aid in fulfilling the aspiration of turning this empty site into a healthy, sustainable and active hub, contributing to the concept of a ‘green lung’ that stretches along Queensway previously instigated by the creation of Commonwealth and Campion park,” the statement added.

The applicant, Carlton Properties Ltd, is seeking permission for a range of mixed-used facilities such as a three-storey car park, commercial office space, retail units, a new major supermarket, three towers of residential accommodation as well a large urban leisure park.

Included in the development will be a “vast rooftop park” with vegetation consisting of trees, shrubs and grass lawns, which will also have catering units such as a bistro, restaurant and café. These catering establishments will also have green roofs.

Access to the rooftop park and other facilities within the development will come from every side of the site including vehicular access to the car park along Bishop Caruana Road and Queensway

“An important factor taken into account during the development of this proposed scheme is the necessity of ensuring that this development’s massing is contextually proportional and palatable to the wider public whilst still remaining commercially viable,” the design statement stated.

“Thus 80% of the overall develop-able area of the application site is to remain ‘low-rise’.”

The application is open for public comment until next Thursday, February 9.


The development has been set back from the boundary line to allow for space for pavements, street furniture, street planting as well as a cycle lane.

“The integration of a new major supermarket chain to Gibraltar will help generate a large amount of footfall within this new development, access to which will be provided along three frontages,” said the design statement.

The main entrance to the rooftop park along Queensway is adjacent to the large curved feature staircase which will elevate the public realm at road level to the rooftop park.

Access to the supermarket will be the southern perimeter of the site parallel to the new services access road developed between the tendered site and that which has been retained by the Government. This road will also provide access to the supermarket warehouse.

A third access point to the supermarket will come from the centre of the development along a stretch of pedestrian walkway which stretches the entire width of the site. This will connect the western front with the eastern side and aims to provide a more direct link to the newly formed junction between the development, Midtown and Campion Park and therefore more access to the main town area.


The western perimeter of the site has been designated to feature “an attractive and impressing commercial frontage.”

“This helps bring about a more beautified area of public access along with its commercial viability, providing a more productive area for Gibraltar,” stated the design statement.

In addition, access cores on this side will help provide accessible access to the rooftop park.


According to the design statement a substantial number of parking spaces have been incorporated throughout the development.

The aim of this was to reduce the reliance of on-street parking which in turn will assist in provide more active transport measures.

Two points of access/egress into the car park will be provided for along Bishop Caruana Road and also on Queensway, one of which will provide access into the residential car park.


“Overall the rooftop park encompasses almost 12,000m2 of area, designed to evoke activity and create interactions between the public and the spaces they use,” the design statement said.

“From shrubs and plants indigenous to various regions of the world where people can receive educational inspiration to open areas capable of adapting themselves for various outdoor purposes such as presentation zones, spaces for outdoor exercise classes.”

Also featuring in the park will be a 580m looped running track; paddle courts and children’s parks.

“In addition to the development of the rooftop park, the residential block footprint accounts for approximately 19% of total develop-able area. Meaning only 1/5th of the scheme is to be developed for the private residential market and 80% of the total develop-able land is to remain low-rise,” the design statement added.


The residential aspect of the development will consist of three towers and a pool/leisure area.

This is located adjacent to where the new Rooke elderly residential home is currently being assembled.

Green or brown roofs with solar panels will feature on all rooftops.

The tallest of the three towers will be located nearest to the elderly residential development and will stand at 18 levels high plus a roof top on level 19. The next tower beside it will be 17 levels high with a rooftop on level 18 and finally the third tower will be 15 levels high with a rooftop on level 16.

Underneath will be the residential car park.


Within the documents filed with the outline planning application was a sustainability statement.

This dealt with various aspects such as building emission rate; fabric energy efficiency; energy display devices; ventilation; building orientation; high efficiency mechanical, electrical and public health equipment; external and internal lighting; air conditioning system; lifts; solar panels; cycle parking; electric car charging points; sea water; potable water; domestic hot water; rain water harvesting and grey water harvesting.

“Provision shall be made for bicycle parking throughout the development and emphasis shall be put on sustainable transport,” said the statement.

“With the onset of E-Bikes consideration will be given for publicly accessible charging stations which may be of particular interest to this development given its location providing an ideal cycling hub with access to supermarkets, schools, main street and other amenity areas.”