Brussels-City commune and the Brussels Capital region are in talks with the operators of fair rides and stalls for a plan to move the Midi Fair next year from its usual place by the South station to the Heysel plateau.
The reason for the move is the planned development of the new Toots Thielemans metro station, construction of which would take up a large part of the boulevard where the fair normally takes place.
Construction of the new station is due to begin in the spring of next year on the Avenue de Stalingrad, with the station coming into service in the second half of 2024. Then, the nearby Lemonnier station will be given a makeover, with tunnel links to the South station and to the new station. Those works are due to be completed in 2027.
Building a new metro section means opening up three main roads: Avenue Poincaré, Boulevard du Midi and Avenue de Stalingrad. It would also split the fair in two, and take up a section of about 200m. The fair would then no longer be long enough to make room for a number of operators.
The Brussels city council is the owner of the Heysel plateau, where it plans to build the Neo shopping and conference centre. But those plans are not yet ready to be put into operation, and the city is now proposing to house the fair there for the seven years’ duration of the works.
“We would prefer to stay where we are, but the Heysel as plan B would not be a huge problem,” Patrick De Corte, president of the association of fairground operators, told Bruzz. A move is unavoidable, he said, since the area affected houses a number of major attractions which simply cannot be installed elsewhere at the current location. And the move could perhaps become permanent, he said.
“If our visitors get used to the new location at the Heysel after all those years, and the operators are making more money, they might even be happy to stay there.”