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    Green light to local land use plan for Tour & Taxis district

    Brussels City Council's green light to the development of the Tour & Taxis area will provide housing and rejuvenate the area.

    At the beginning of the week, the Brussels City Council gave the green light to a local land use plan, relating to deferred regional development. This, in fact, relates to the area Tour & Taxis, to the west of the capital, which is currently undergoing massive changes.

    The majority voted as one in favour of the local land use plan. The Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH) opposition and DéFI (the regionalist liberals) both abstained. The Greens voted against it.

    This local land use plan sets the limits on surface areas for buildings, parks, offices, shops and amenities.

    These limits should have due regard for the private ownership of the 45-hectare site, which is located a stone’s throw from the Gare du Nord. Eventually it is anticipated that there will be 370,000 m² of new buildings here.

    The majority of this building is housing but also offices, shops, industry and facilities. The buildings themselves are anticipated to reach heights of between 16 and 150 metres. Opponents to the local land use plan thus fear a significant increase in building density.

    A further opponents’ criticism came out during the public enquiry stage. The impact report insisted that there should be a requirement for 20% of the site’s housing to be social housing. In the end, this will not be the case.

    However, the Deputy Burgomaster with responsibility for City Planning, Geoffroy Coomans de Brachène (of the MR) has responded that it is not beyond the realms of possibility to impose this as a condition of any planning permissions in the future.

    There will be few, indeed possibly no amenities, on the site. The majority response is that these can be constructed, if necessary later, around the site.

    Using the strict definition of green zones, opponents are also saying that planted areas on the site will be significantly reduced compared to those anticipated. Opponents are also clear that public access to all park areas should be treated as a development reality.

    Another of the opponents’ demands, which was turned down as part of the local land use plan, was the creation of a new tram line, which is not actually planned to take place over the next few years.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times