A mega project it is: the redevelopment of Fellenoord. The area between the Philips Stadium and the TU/e, north of the railway station, is going to be transformed. Much of what is there now will be flattened, and a new district with 6,500 homes will take its place. That development is another step closer, now that the city council has agreed to pull the cart, together with the province.
With a large majority, the Eindhoven city council agreed to the plans on Tuesday night. And that means that Eindhoven and the province of Brabant will start a joint company to make the facelift of Fellenoord possible. The condition, however, is that next week the Provincial States must also give the green light.
“This is a historic decision. It is not often that we have to take a decision on such a big project here,” responded Rutger Rauws, councillor for GroenLinks. “This is going to lift the whole city to another level,” adds PvdA councillor Tjeerd Ritmeester.
That the development is important for Eindhoven, the groups agree. However, several parties still have doubts about the risks. “We are afraid that the goals we want to realise cannot be achieved. That this project is too big for Eindhoven, and the ambitions too big. For example, we want 85 per cent of the homes to be affordable, but that is not realistic at this time,” explained VVD party chairman Lex Janssen. “We are creating an Eindhoven North-South line here. It may soon cost a lot more money and energy than predicted.”
Yet coalition parties see it differently. Ritmeester: “We have no more worries. We think all risks are sufficiently covered. And we are pulling the cart together with the province, so we share those risks. The only problem, I think, is that construction costs are high now. Although I think property developers also have enough fat on their bones to step in.”
So, to spread the risks, and also to increase its clout, the municipality is moving intensively with the province. Together, in a new company to be set up. With a 50 per cent stake each. There is support for this in the municipal council.
Yet on Tuesday evening there were also calls for the Eindhoven share to be a majority stake. “Then we as the city council will have more control,” Janssen said. Still, alderman Brainport and Economy Stijn Steenbakkers stressed several times that an equal distribution is better. “That’s acting equally, if you also share the risks. And, ultimately the Eindhoven city council has the last word, if zoning plans have to be approved.”
Next Friday, Provincial Councils will consider the matter.
Translated by Simge Taşdemir