Josaphat and Heyvaert readings approved

TOWN PLANNING
Tim Harrup

Two of the Brussels Region’s priority development sites have moved a step closer to reality. Over the past week or two, the Region has approved details concerning the sites at Josaphat (Schaerbeek) and at Heyvaert (abattoirs). The probable final shape of these development sites has taken account of the results of the public enquiries held in each case.

The Josaphat site close to Reyers, first of all, has seen its PAD (Plan d'Aménagement Directeur) approved at first reading, with substantial changes, and subject to a further public enquiry later in the year. The government’s agency in charge of handling these matters – perpective.brussels – is thus working on the agreed modifications which are in the domains of density, mobility and preserving the existing biodiversity.

These requirements will see the creation of an open ‘bio-park’ park in the centre of the parcel, extending to 1.28 hectares. This will be managed by Bruxelles Environnement. This park adds its green characteristics to the Wadiparks, to the Spoorpark alongside the railway lines and to the existing embankments. The result will be a single park extending to a fraction over five hectares. This surface area now represents some 40% of the total surface area of the project (13.5 ha.). The residential zones will be located to the north and the south of the parcel.

Where density is concerned, the increased green area is to the detriment of the number of housing units, which is reduced from 1,600 to 1,200. This figure includes 323 social housing units and 215 at moderate cost. A new educational facility and sports hall may also be developed by the commune of Schaerbeek on the site. Mobility is automatically improved by these measures, and it is still the Brussels Government’s ambition to move towards a car-free district in time.

Heyvaert

Moving to the Heyvaert district along the canal and close to the abattoirs, the second reading of the planned development has just been approved by the Brussels government. The major objective behind the redevelopment of this city centre periphery zone is to maintain the considerable economic activity (the abattoirs themselves, but also the high number of car dealers), and also to create new housing, including social housing, around green areas. Among additional facilities will be a cultural centre operated by the SAU. It is also the intention to increase the attraction of the canal and to highlight the exceptional architecture of the existing canal-side buildings.

The potential for biodiversity of this zone is also to be exploited by creating a new park which will connect the Porte de Ninove to the site of the abattoirs. This project is also subject to a further reading later in the year.