Wageningen UR and the municipality of Wageningen want to have another go at drawing up a joint plan for De Dreijen. There may be room for city agriculture in that new plan.
The starting point for the new collaborative effort is that none of the old agreements and conditions apply any more. That is what the Wageningen UR Executive Board and the Municipal Executive have agreed. In principle, both parties want to begin with a clean slate. 'The idea is that we see whether we can come up with a joint plan. How exactly is not yet clear. It is up to the Wageningen town council to make the first move and state their position', says Wageningen UR spokesman Simon Vink.
As far as Wageningen UR is concerned, a clean slate means that there should no longer be a requirement for a minimum return of 80 percent of the taxable property value. The municipality would then have to relinquish the preconditions that were adopted unanimously in June 2009. That includes the requirement to keep the Small Arboretum in its entirety (i.e. including the ponds). That requirement turned out to be one of the main obstacles last year for the plan drawn up then, which was ultimately rejected by Wageningen's politicians.
After the elections, the new Municipal Executive picked up where the old one had left off. According to Vink, part of the new collaborative agreement is that Wageningen UR will not make any irreversible changes to the area during the planning procedure. 'So there will be no requests for demolition licenses. With the possible exception of the tropical greenhouse if that is necessary for safety reasons.' As requested by the municipality, the new plan will at any rate explicitly consider the option of city agriculture.
It is not yet clear what conditions the Wageningen council will set. Complete abandonment of all the old demands seems out of the question, as was demonstrated this week in the council when the politicians gave their opinion about a citizens' initiative for De Dreijen. This initiative asked for the Small Arboretum to be kept in its entirety and for room for an eco-district. The council rejected the proposal unanimously, partly because the suggestions add nothing to the requirements adopted in 2009. Those preconditions remain applicable until further notice.
The council will be discussing the new collaborative effort with Wageningen UR in the coming month, starting on 13 June in the Town committee.