Gibraltar’s football authority has taken a step forward in its bid to develop a new stadium that meets UEFA requirements.
The territory’s Development and Planning Commission (DPC) unanimously approved outline planning permission for the latest stadium design on Thursday. However, the GBC news service reports that Gibraltar Football Association (GFA), which is leading the £100m, 8,000-capacity stadium project, must meet conditions set by the commission before passing the next stage of the process.
The DPC said planners must account for the potential negative impact of new retail space on existing businesses on Main Street. They have also been told to liaise more closely with the owner of the El Murga Bar which is situated at the existing Victoria Stadium.
John Cortes, Gibraltar’s Culture and Environment Minister, said the new build had to be net zero. He also highlighted the historical importance of the site of the isthmus and asked the developers to consider incorporating an interpretation centre on the history of the isthmus.
The stadium is part of a wider project which also includes a 92-unit residential project, retail and office units and a business centre.
According to plans unveiled last year, work on the UEFA Category 4 stadium will begin in 2023. The Gibraltar national team is currently playing matches in Faro, Portugal until the project is completed.
The GFA has an agreement with Community Supplies & Services Ltd, a company linked to the Chinese state, for the construction and development of the arena.
The development will be part of the National Economic Plan of Gibraltar and funded by the Gibraltar Savings Bank (GSB), which has a remit to prioritise projects for the betterment of the British Overseas Territory’s community and prosperity. GSB will provide an investment through the acquisition of loan notes to be issued by the GFA.
In November 2022, Gibraltar beat Andorra 1-0 in the final game at the 5,000-capacity Victoria Stadium, which was opened in 1926.