‘Protected site for construction’ = guaranteed sale?

Didier Van Den Eynde

The Flemish government has just approved a system of protection for non-constructed residential zones. Almost 12,000 hectares have now had their ‘buildable’ status suspended! The objective is to protect green areas from unfettered construction and by so doing to better protect Flanders from the problems of flooding and also of drought. In certain zones and at a local level the administration will have the possibility of lifting the suspension of these zones for justified reasons following public consultation.

The Flemish parliamentarians have also voted for an increase in the compensation paid to the landlords of these sites for construction. Up until now those landlords who, following a decision of the public authorities, lost the ‘for construction’ status of certain of their sites, were compensated at the rate of 80% of the indexed value of the site at the time of acquisition. This compensation will now be 100%.

This ‘stop concrete’ plan known in Flemish as ‘bouwshift’, will have a very substantial cost. In an article published in ‘L’Echo’ it is estimated to be between 6.8 and 31 billion Euros.

It is feared that these measures will stir up real estate speculation in Flanders for ‘sites for construction’.