Part of the derelict land behind the Brussels West railway station in Molenbeek, a sizeable site of 13 hectares, is set to become a new three-hectare park in 2026. Until then, it has been opened to the public with the aim of it temporarily becoming a meeting place where local projects can flourish.
The West Park, located next to West Station, along Rue Alphonse Vandenpeereboom between the metro stations Beekkant and Ossegem, opened up to the public two weeks ago.
A new three-hectare park will be created there in 2026, but until then, the area of the former freight station linking two parts of Molenbeek — the densely built-up east with the west that was developed more recently — remains a wasteland bordering a very densely built-up and mineralised neighbourhood with a lack of green spaces accessible to the public.
In line with its Nature Plan, which advocates for every Brussels resident to have an accessible green space near their home, the Brussels Regional Government wanted to open this site to the neighbourhood and make it accessible to local residents as a place to meet, walk or play sports.
"The site needed to be opened up to local residents as soon as possible to create a place where they can catch their breath and collective projects can be developed, all with a view to responding to their local needs," Alain Maron, Minister of Climate Transition and Environment, said.
Reinventing area through temporary space
The master plan of the construction (RPA) of the "West Station" project envisages the creation of a mixed-use district on the entire site, with, in addition to a new three-hectare park, housing, collective facilities, economic activities, new bridges over the railway and numerous public spaces.
Pending the start of works, the site will temporarily become a meeting place where local projects can flourish. "Temporary use is a great way to reinvent Brussels together with its residents," Maron concluded.
Following preparatory work to decontaminate the soil and clean up the site, it will be open for a few hours a week during guided tours. After that, the park will be accessible at set times, so local residents can come to play sports, relax or meet other locals.
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A programme of activities will also be created according to the needs and wishes of local residents, complementing the MolenWest project, co-managed by the municipality, which already opens up another substantial public space at West Station.
"This project is part of the wider plans to restructure the West Station site in the long term. We know what the neighbourhood needs. Therefore, by design, it seemed the best choice to create an evolving park, allowing local residents to gradually appropriate this place," the region's Minister-President Rudi Vervoort said.