News - December 9, 2009

Dreijen pond stays, rose garden to go

The big pond in the Small Botanical Garden will be retained. Wageningen UR and the municipality have reached this compromise in the face of strong demands from inhabitants to spare the park from housing development.

However, a part of the park adjacent to the Transitorium will be built on. This will be at the expense of the rose garden, among others. This is the situation in the Master Plan 'De Dreijen' presented to the Wageningen city council on Monday evening. The report gives the most coverage to how housing construction in and next to the Small Botanical Garden would be like.
According to landscape architect Marco Broekman of Karres & Brands, a choice has been made to preserve the structure of the botanical gardens, the ponds and the ecological features in the area. But this does not mean that the entire park will remain intact. Along the north and eastern sides of the park, small scale 'ecological units' will be built. These houses will be part of a collective private entrepreneurship. In addition, the inhabitants will be given the task of managing the immediate surroundings. Broekman: 'There will be strict requirements and multiple year maintenance plans to preserve the quality of the area.'
The master plan, which has been approved by the executive board of Wageningen UR, has targeted space for 583 housing units on De Dreijen. These will be clustered into blocks over the area, while existing buildings will be preserved as much as possible. This applies too to the Transitorium. Broekman says that the buildings will display the history of De Dreijen in various stages. In this, the Transitorium is suitable for (social) housing. An underground car park forms part of the plans. So does an underground passage which will make the park more accessible from the Dreijenplein. The Dreijenplein will be the centre of the new housing area.
Three high-rise housing apartments with ten to twelve stories will be erected in the area, almost in the same locations as the existing high-rise buildings: the Biotechnion, the demolished Dreijenborch and the area adjacent to the Transitorium. The apartment towers will be two to four stories taller than the present buildings. By clustering the rest of the housing units, there will be a lot of green space. Broekman: 'Two thirds of the area will be green. This is very unusual. Normally, it's the other way round.'
Expensive houses
The houses in De Dreijen will be more upmarket than what the municipality has formulated in its 'vision for living'. Space is reserved for only 87 cheaper (rental and sales) units. This is half less than what the city council wants, while the proportion of expensive (up to four hundred thousand euros) and exclusive units (above four hundred thousand euros) will become bigger. For each of these categories, there will be 248 units. This shift is based on market analysis by local housing brokers, according to the planners.
The master plan has already received the green light from the executive board of Wageningen UR, while the decision from the city executive board is pending, followed by that of the council. Platform De Dreijen will hold a debate on the plans in the Wageningen public library on Wednesday 9 December.