After six years of discussion, it is still not certain whether the construction of a nature reserve and two villas at the new Achtervoorde country estate, in the rural area south of Aalst, can finally begin soon.
The plan has been the subject of discussion for years, as both supporters and opponents have voiced their opinions. The plan consists of two villas in the middle of the countryside, and a new nature reserve that will also be largely accessible to the public. The county council held a final discussion on the matter on Tuesday evening. The council will make a decision in a fortnight, although it is not yet clear how many parties support the plans.
Two years ago, the council had already discussed a project developer’s plan to turn farmland at the location along side the Tongelreep river into nature and an estate. Residents tried to launch an alternative plan, but it did not get enough support. The city council supported the plan for the estate, but there was discussion about the elaboration of the plans in the development plan.
It was striking that the province asked for the plan to be amended in order to move various green belts to places that appeared on maps from 1870. Because of this adjustment, the entire procedure had to be done again.
On Tuesday evening, nature manager Mari de Bijl of Brabants Landschap called on the municipal council to agree to the plans because they will give a major boost to nature in the area by creating a link between two nature zones.
Various parties in the municipal council are enthusiastic about the plan. D66 still has doubts. According to party chairman Floris Schoots, there is still too much uncertainty about how exactly the owner wants to handle opening up the area to the public. However, he does indicate that he attaches great value to De Bijl’s plea.
Gerard Lammers of ZW14 is also still in doubt. He finds the villas very large. There is also uncertainty as to whether the buildings will have a negative impact on the underground water streams. He will make his decision about the plan depending on the latest information that Alderman Van Burgsteden still has to provide.
On 21 September, the municipal council will try to reach a final decision. Changes can still be made to the plans.
Translated by: Bob