Nuenen expects first asylum seekers in new shelter end 2023

Asylum seekers Nuenen
Photo credit: Studio040

If there are not too many objections from local residents and the negotiations with the Centraal Orgaan opvang Asielzoekers, (central agency for the reception of asylum seekers, COA) go well, the first asylum seekers can be welcomed in Nuenen as early as around the turn of the year. So says Alderman Niels Wouters.

Last weekend, the municipality announced that a shelter for a total of 200 asylum seekers is planned on a grass field between Pastoormast and A270. The chosen location, near the sports park of soccer club RKSV Nuenen, should provide housing for up to ten years for refugees who have had to leave their own country because of war and violence. After five years, however, there will be an evaluation moment.

Because earlier plans, to house the asylum seekers on Gulbergen Estate, were rejected by Nuenen’s city council, the city council had to look for another location. “We looked at about eight different locations that we thought might be suitable. COA also looked around in Nuenen and we both came to the conclusion that the current site was the most suitable”, Wouters said.

The various sites were all critically assessed, Wouters explains. Issues such as traffic safety, space, public order, nature and the environment were included in the assessment. “For us, this location was the best option. COA also thought this was a viable variant. They look at how many people they can accommodate at a location, but also at the location in relation to other locations and the distance to certain facilities. Think of education, health care and day care”.

Wouters says he is “pleased” that the Municipality of Nuenen can make a contribution to solving the international problem of refugees. At the same time, he also understands the concerns local residents have. “It can affect the livability in the neighbourhood. So we will also definitely enter into discussions with the residents in the neighbourhood, the soccer club, the scouts, hospice Latesteyn and the after-school program”.

According to the first assignment, the Municipality of Nuenen had to house 87 asylum seekers. So with the target number of two hundred, it is well above it. Wouters: “However, this is an annual target. With the influx that COA foresees, this number will probably be a lot higher next year. So we are somewhat anticipating the future, but also have the room to accommodate these numbers. These people deserve the protection we can offer here”.

Wouters emphasises that there is no agreement with COA yet. Nuenen is now in the process of drawing up a contract. “This will include things like duration, evaluations, facilities and numbers. Tomorrow we will have a private walk-in evening, during which we will hear the wishes of local residents for the first time. Moreover, we want to set up a sounding board group, which will enter into discussion with us. So that, in consultation with COA, we can arrive at the best possible situation”.

COA needs about six months to develop and build, once the agreement with the Municipality of Nuenen is signed. “There is still a permit phase coming up, so it will take some time to wait and see if anyone objects. If this is not the case and we can go ahead, then things can move quickly. And we need to, because COA is looking for some 2,900 new reception places in Brabant alone”.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Bob


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