Organisation - October 8, 2009

Houses may be built on Dreijen lakes area

Designated area too small to accommodate all council's wishes.
Threat to decision to keep the library and tropical greenhouse.

Sketch of the new Dreijen district. The tree‑lined Generaal Foulkesweg and the Klein Arboretum are in the foreground. The buildings that can be kept are coloured white.
Some of the lakes in the Klein Arboretum may have to go to make way for new houses in the Dreijen district. Otherwise there is just not enough room to build new houses, keep exceptional properties and make sure there is enough greenery in the new district. That is the conclusion from the initial sketches for the area.
Landscape architects and town planners from the Karres and Brands company provided a picture of what it would mean if development took place in line with the assignment given by the Wageningen town council. The council wants an energy-neutral district with 560 houses of no more than four storeys. A number of the existing university buildings and the arboretum have to be kept. And there also have to be 1.7 parking spaces per house.
But that is an impossible combination, says Wageningen UR project manager Eric van der Meer. 'If you meet all the council's requirements you end up with a plan where the density of housing is too great. No-one wants that.' So choices have to be made. For example, by allowing a few blocks of flats in the area, or by reducing the housing volume. But the latter option is not commercially attractive.
The design team has proposed creating more room by using part of area which is now lakes to build houses. The area this frees up enables the rest of the district to be more spacious. Even in July, during an information evening, Karres and Brands showed they were not particularly attached to the lakes. The lakes were not originally part of the arboretum and were only added later. The plan also tampered with the number of buildings to be kept. For instance, there is no room for the library and the future of the tropical greenhouse is in question. On the other hand, Karres and Brands are willing to let the Transitorium stay.
The arboretum is one of the reasons there is not enough room. The tree garden and lakes account for one quarter of the available area. As a result the average density of 28 houses per hectare has to be achieved using the remaining area. And that means building houses closer together, or occasionally building vertically. The preferred design currently under consideration has three blocks of flats as well as buildings on part of the lake area.
The sketches were presented to the Wageningen council at the beginning of this week during an information evening. The general public gets its turn this evening in the Gebouw met de Klok (building with the clock). The buildings along the edge of the arboretum in particular are expected to draw considerable criticism.
Wageningen UR and the municipality are collaborating on a master plan for the Dreijen district. That plan should be completed by the middle of November. There have been no agreements made yet about developing the area, according to Van der Meer. 'But neither party wants to take on the developer's role.' A large part of the planning area will only become available after 2014. The demolition of the Dreijenborch along the Ritzemabosweg is now nearly finished.

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