The Court of Appeal in Brussels has ruled that the closure in 2020 of the southern corner of the Bois de la Cambre to traffic was unlawful, and the road must remain open.
Currently, traffic enters the Bois at the top of Avenue Louise, and follows a short route to come out on the side at around Avenue Winston Churchill.
Before the road closure, however, traffic was able to continue its route through the Bois to access more of the commune of Uccle. When Brussels-City commune ordered the closure of the southern part of the route, it caused uproar among Uccle residents and the commune itself, leading to a court case.
Proponents of the closure argued the existence of a virtual motorway in the middle of a city park was a nonsense in terms of health, safety, environmental concerns and peace and quiet.
Opponents argued that a large part of the city was being cut off by the measure, forcing residents to find alternative routes that were insufficient, restricted, slow and often choked up.
The court of first instance in Brussels agreed with the opponents of the closure, which would, they said, have had “serious and irreparable consequences for traffic.”
The City, the lower court ruled, had acted unlawfully. The City elected to appeal and has now lost its case again.
“We are putting a lock on the current situation,” Uccle mayor Boris Dilliès (MR) told L’Echo.
“The southern loop can never be closed again. And the verdict confirms that the city of Brussels should have taken into account the consequences of its decisions for the neighbouring municipalities.”
Meanwhile in Brussels, a spokesperson for the administration said they had taken note of the ruling. The cabinet of the mayor of Brussels Philippe Close (PS) takes note of the decision. “There is consensus in our discussions about the current situation. We continue to work on the various arrangements with all municipalities and the Region,” they said.
The City council now intends to carry out more tests, and to set up a committee of representatives of all 19 communes as well as the Region. That will eventually look into whether new adaptations can be made, or whether the current situation ordered by the court must stand.