Background info

City Council of April 25th, 2017

The College recognises the error committed in October 2016, but it is unfortunately too late to react.

The construction has started and makes good progress.

City Council of March 28th, 2017

It is proposed to rectify as soon as possible the double error of the services and the College committed in October 2016. The building permit granted by the provincial authorities on August 25, 2016 does not (knowingly?) mention certain conditions required by the College on April 13, 2016 , including the shifting of the upper floor (see below). The services consider that it is not worthwhile to react, and the College does nothing to correct these differences between the conditions laid down by the provincial authorities and its own requests.

There is obviously an unclear situation about the requirements concerning this project, and it is proposed to regularize the situation by sending a letter to the promoter and the provincial authorities.

Some details about the asbestos removal, update December 22nd, 2016

After many unsuccessful trials to get any useful information from the municipal authorities about the removal of the asbestos in the building, we eventually decided to contact the building promoter and to ask them the question directly.  We received on December 22nd, 2016 the following answer:

  • Given the asbestos present in the building before its demolition, a simple removal procedure was enough
  • The removal has been done by the company De Meuter during the week of December 12th, 2016
  • The federal health services have been informed according to the legislation

Start of the demolition works on December 16th, 2016

  • These works are expected to be completed by the end of December 2016
  • The demolition contractor mentions that a specialised company has already been dealing with the removal of the asbestos in the building (among others linked to the heating installation), otherwise he would not able to proceed with the demolition.
  • The municipal authorities were obviously aware of this situation on December 13th, 2016 (Environment Committee): why didn’t they say anything?

Environment Committe on December 13th, 2016

  • Demolition works are expected to start on the week of 2016-12-19
  • Still no clear information about asbestos in the building and the removal of it

City Council of November 29th, 2016

Still no clear information about asbestos in the building and the removal of it

Last possibility of appeal before November 5th, 2016

There was a last possibility to introduce before 2016-11-05 another appeal procedure by the Raad voor Vergunningsbetwistingen. For several reasons including the will to avoid delaying the project with limited possibilities to obtain much more than the current one, the KPP project team have decided not to do so. Some other people could however have done it, but nobody else did.

Appeal procedure rejected on August 25th, 2016

There has been an audition on August 23rd, 2016 by the provincial authorities in Leuven. KPP were present, Home Invest Belgium as well, but nobody from the Kraainem authorities…

All the arguments of the appeal have been rejected. “Mobility is no problem since the additional traffic will be redirected to other streets and avenues in the area” [sic!], the size of the building is ok and it fits in its environment, nothing is mentioned about the specific flora and fauna in the area…

For more details, please refer to the FR/NL pages.

Start of the appeal procedure on May 20th, 2016

An appeal procedure against the scope of the current project has started on May 20th, 2016, based on the following reasons:

  1. The town and the province should undertake, in consultation with HIB, mobility measures necessary to make the project viable (*), also during the construction phase given the other planned projects (**) along the Avenue de Wezembeek or which will have an impact on this avenue
  2. The size of the building 
  3. All the existing trees as well as the specific flora and fauna would be destroyed
  4. The drainage capacity is a question mark

The decision of the Province authorities should be taken within 105 days starting on May 20th, 2016

For more details about this procedure (NL)

Memo / other important issues:

  • What about the bicycle paths?
  • What about ambulances (going to and coming from UCL) and other emergency vehicles? More congestion in the area is not good news to them, nor to the people needing their help
  • Air pollution and other environmental aspects, traffic safety, and, last but not least, already difficult passage for disabled people are also important aspects to be taken into consideration

(*) Since the autumn 2013, there have been several requests at the City Council to the Burgomaster and Aldermen of Kraainem to contact the (Flemish) Region in order to examine possibilities to re-organize this crossroads. So far, no concrete progress in this matter. It is however not too late to take some precautions to ensure that an expansion (or roundabout) in the Avenue de Wezembeek at this place does not become impossible in the future. The planned building could be moved further away from the Avenue de Wezembeek (according to the plans of autumn 2014, the building limit would be only 4 m from the bus stop!). The town can provide when granting the permit a number of reserves that would allow the future development of the crossroads. Another important element in this discussion: Kraainem could possibly consider the transfer of part of the Avenue de Wezembeek from the Region (for which it is a secondary road type III) to the municipality. This obviously does not happen in the short term and number of modalities should be studied, but the possibility exists and it would be a shame not to take this into account. Surprisingly enough, the current mobility plan (available on the website of the municipality, NL version only) is from 2009…

(**) Most important ones:

  • The restaurants next to the Brico will become a real estate project
  • Delhaize will be demolished and rebuilt next to the avenue de Wezembeek (and its size will increase by 35%)
  • Extra parking space for Kraainem Subway Station
  • The reorganization of the avenue Reine Astrid between the Roi Baudouin roundabout and the tram line (sidewalks and bicycle paths)
  • The reorganization of the place Dumon is not finalized yet, but there will almost certainly be an impact on the avenue Reine Astrid and surroundings, including the avenue de Wezembeek

Publication of the building permit on April 22nd, 2016

Neighbours have then 30 days to react if they wish to do so

College of Burgomaster and Aldermen, April 13th, 2016

The building permit is ok, but subjected to the following conditions :

  • The commercial ground floor can only be used for operations with limited [car] traffic. Are admitted: small-scale shops, services, banking and insurance offices, employment agencies, real estate agencies, liberal professions as well as community services and public services. Are excluded: industry, department stores, supermarkets, fast food, restaurants, bar and dancings.
  • Unless otherwise stipulated in the legislation, billboards, signs (luminous), road signs, advertising material, etc. will be submitted to the College of Burgomaster and Aldermen for approval. They will be limited to the ground floor and will be switched off at the latest at 22:00. The facade along the Avenue Wezembeek falls under the authority of the Agency of Roads and Traffic, district of Asse-Vilvoorde.
  • The plantation proposal is not accepted. The applicant will present another proposal for planting with native trees and shrubs to the College for approval.
  • The corner of the land returned by the developer will be taken back into the public domain, and the applicant will take care of the necessary formalities for this free retrocession.
  • The fourth level of construction must be at least 1 m away from the façade, among other things 160 cm along the Wezembeek avenue and the end of the wing on the Reine Astrid side by 300 cm compared to the 3rd level.

Presentation of the new project by Home Invest Belgium, January 6th, 2016

  • See FR/NL tabs for the minutes of this meeting
  • There are some notable improvements over the original project, the most important being:
  1. The input – output of underground parking would be on the side of the street Jules Adant and not on the Avenue Reine Astrid. Two-way traffic would be allowed on a few dozens meters on the Jules Adant street to make circulation to the south possible (towards the Place Dumon)
  2. The parking spots perpendicular to the Avenue Reine Astrid would be replaced by green spaces
  3. The proposed project seems to be ok for the authorities
  4. The building should be pushed back another 3 m off the avenue de Wezembeek, and there will be a small piece of land (corner North-West) transferred to the municipality. That would give some more room for potential future redevelopment of the intersection
  5. The colour of the walls is clearly defined (light colour)
  6. More green on the av. Reine Astrid side
  7. 40% less shopping area (which would decrease from 1126 m2 to 700 m2), so less mobility problems

Unfortunately, some issues remain (see “next steps”)

City Council of December 22nd, 2015

  • No tangible information on global mobility around the Wezembeeklaan, but the alderman of mobility is “talking to the provincial authorities about the bicycle paths along the Astridlaan” (sic)
  • The city council does not agree to look at the possibility to purchase the B94e2 property (between HIB and the Queen Astrid statue) to move the building further away from the Wezembeeklaan
  • A presentation of the new proposal of Home Invest Belgium is planned on January 6th, 18:30

Mail Home Invest Belgium -> Kraainem Post Project, 30th November 2015

  • Camelot (vacant property management) will occupy the building until the works start. No details about their planned activities
  • A new proposal is currently being finalized
  • No agreement has been found with the owner of the property [between their lot and the Queen Astrid statue, see City Council of 2015-09-29] to buy this piece of land

City Council of November 24th, 2015

  • No new proposal from the promotor for the time being
  • No details about the “Camelot” (vacant property management) advertisement boards that have been placed on the building in October 2015

City Council of September 29th, 2015

  • No new proposal from the promotor for the time being
  • The city authorities have asked the promotor to consider buying the property between theirs and the Queen Astrid statute. This would allow moving the planned building further away from the avenue de Wezembeek, in order to possibly reorganize the crossroads Astrid/Wezembeek

City Council of August 25th, 2015

  • Apparently no appeal from the promoter (Home Invest Belgium) to the Council for permit disputes (Raad voor vergunningsbetwistingen).
  • The mayor reiterated her refusal to hold a hearing for residents as long as the College did not have access to a new proposal of Home Invest Belgium, if and when. New fact: she also says the College does not necessarily have to make a decision before a consultation with residents is organized.
  • The possibility of partial transfer of Avenue de Wezembeek from the region to the town, and the management of the impact of various construction projects that should take place along the Avenue de Wezembeek during the next few years will be discussed in the commissions “Management” and “Environment” before the city council of October 2015.

City Council of June 23rd, 2015

Given the decision of the Delegation of Flemish Brabant of June 4, 2015 to reject the project, the question about a hearing for local residents is asked again. The alderman of town planning replied that this would be meaningless because the promotor may appeal (to the Council for Permit Disputes, Raad voor vergunningsbetwistingen). To be continued.

Hearing at the Delegation of Flemisch Brabant, June 4th, 2015

  • Present: Deputation, Home Invest Belgium + lawyer, Kraainem Post Project (Carel Edwards & Bertrand Waucquez)
  • Report provincial planning official: the project provides 3 floors for living space and is therefore in breach of Article 8 of the regional plan Halle-Vilvoorde-Asse (KB 1977), with respect to the special provisions on residential areas
  • Introduction file
  • Basic arguments Kraainem Post Project: project size, mobility, good relations with neighbors, petition letters
  • Basic arguments of Home Invest Belgium: duplex = one level, quality project, taller buildings in the neighborhood, mobility no problem
  • Decision: the request of Home Invest Belgium is denied

Environment Committee  of June 2nd, 2015

A new draft was presented by Home Invest Belgium. The developer has stressed the importance of good relations with local residents, because they will be there for the long term. Some notable differences from the original project (the publication of November 28, 2014), of which the most important are:

  • The entry – exit of the underground parking would be on the side of the Jules Adantstraat, and no more on the Astridlaan. The one-way traffic from the Jules Adantstraat would also be canceled in a few tens of meters to enable the circulation to the South (towards Dumonplein)
  • The parking across the Astridlaan at the end of this road would be deleted and replaced by green spaces
  • A small piece of land at the North-West corner would be transferred to the municipality in order to allow the re-organisation of the often saturated Wezembeek / Koningin Astrid intersection
  • Decrease of 46% of shopping / business area (600 m2 instead of 1126 m2)

These are clearly steps in the good direction. However, quite a few question marks remain:

  • The project still provides 3 floors for living space in some places and is therefore in breach of Article 8 of the regional plan Halle-Vilvoorde-Asse. Adaptations are sometimes possible, but not in this case
  • The building is still planned at 15 m from the axis of the Avenue de Wezembeek, barely 4 meters from the bus stop. Currently there are apparently no concrete plans for the redevelopment of the intersection Wezembeek / Koningin Astrid, but we must make sure that any future widening of the Wezembeeklaan does not become impossible,  simply by moving the building further away from the Avenue de Wezembeek
  • The impact on mobility in the neighborhood is still underestimated

This was only a presentation to the Environment Committee, and certainly not a hearing for local residents. The alderman of town planning clearly mentioned that such a meeting would be meaningless as long as the decision of the Delegation of Flemish Brabant would not be known. Of course we will continue to press for such a meeting to be organized as soon as possible.

City Council of April 28th, 2015

The developer, Home Invest Belgium, recently discussed a new project with the college. No details about this, the aim being to discuss at the next meeting of the Environment Committee. A public hearing with residents would then be organized. Kraainem-Unie / Bertrand Waucquez reiterates his question on the assessment of the possibility of the transfer of the Avenue de Wezembeek to the town, which would help to find a solution to mobility problems along this road.

City Council of March 31st, 2015

At each council meeting, the fog thickens around the policy of the legislature. Now that the college has refused the permission for the building project on the site of the old post office, Kraainem United asked about the next steps. This triggers a visceral reaction from Arnold Oreye (alderman of urbanism), which does not understand what we want to know more. For him, an information meeting for local residents is meaningless because the developer has launched an appeal against the refusal of the municipality.

City Council of February 24th, 2015: canceled without official reason

“There were not enough points on the agenda.” It’s obviously unfortunate, because this meeting would have been an ideal opportunity to clearly explain the situation of this real estate project and calmly discuss the next steps.

Meeting of the College of Burgomaster and Aldermen, February 9th, 2015

The project in its current form (publication of 2014-11-28) was been turned down by the College of Burgomaster and Aldermen. They have taken the many reactions, comments, objections and signatures received into consideration.

City Council of January 27th, 2015

December 2014: appeal against plans to develop the site as per application for a building permit by Home Invest Belgium, published on 2014-11-28

  • A first batch of 264 signatures has been brought to the town authorities on Wednesday morning 2014-12-24, and 14 more were sent by mail to the attention of the Burgomaster and Aldermen of Kraainem on Friday evening 2014-12-26. Given the holiday period of the end of December, this high number of reactions is a clear indication!
  • We know that several people wrote directly to the College (some of them provided us with a copy of their letter)
  • The collection of signatures for our objection forms started on Saturday 2014-12-20 and ended on Tuesday evening, 2014-12-23: 264 signatures were collected. The vast majority of the people we have been talking to is asking for another project
  • The public survey (click here for the FR version and here for the NL document) started on November 28th and ended on December 27th, 2014. Most people didn’t see the publication boards before December 3rd, and the town building closed on December 24th noon for the rest of the week,… were are the requested 30 days for such a survey?

City Council of December 18th, 2014

  • The main issues (particularly impact on mobility, but also other aspects) were discussed
  • According to the Alderman for mobility there have already been discussions between municipal and regional services, but it would still be too early to draw conclusions here. This is part of the preparation of the dossier for the application for a building permit to be submitted to the College
  • The Burgomaster wonders why all these questions are raised. She thinks that one should let the matter take its course and simply must wait for the decision. (In other words: “Do wait until you are presented with a fait accompli”)
  • Ditto regarding a proposal to organize a consultation of local residents. In a similar case – also on the Avenue Wezembeek – such initiative was taken by the project entrepreneur himself. So far there is little enthusiasm for such an approach on the part of Home Invest Belgium, the owner and promoter of the project of the old post office. It is clear that a consultation of residents makes little sense when the decision is already taken; it must happen before

This is the original project (publication of November 2014):

Kraainempost_05_EN

The selling of the building of the Post (summer 2013)

  • City council, 2013-12-30: Counsellor Waucquez asks where we stand in this matter, the appointed Burgomaster answers that the file of the avenue de Wezembeek has been transmitted to the Alderman of mobility for further treatment
  • City council, 2013-11-06: Counsellor Van Biesen repeats his question of the last city council, to discuss with people of the Flemisch Region in charge of these issues about the possibility of expropriating part of the ground of the post in order to restructure the avenue de Wezembeek
  • City council, 2014-09-24: Counsellor Van Biesen points out that the sale could be an opportunity to finally start the works at avenue de Wezembeek. He asks the management to contact the Flemish Region about the redevelopment of this avenue and suggests inviting a delegation of this Region to urgently discuss this matter. Alderman d’Oreye agrees, but explains that the post is a federal issue, whereas the avenue de Wezembeek is a regional one. City Counsellor Waucquez asks the city council to make a concrete decision, such as to write a letter
  • The building of the post has been sold during the summer 2013. The town authorities “didn’t know at that time” what was going to happen next, whereas the feasability study for the project considered by the buyer (supposing quite a few contacts with the local authorities) had obviously taken place before the effective purchase. More info in “De Lijsterbes of December 2013” (NL)
  • 2 letters from the Post (2013-06-05 & 20) addressed to the attention of the town authorities state that Bpost is going to move in July 2013 to its new location at the rue d’Argile (operational July 2013)

Updated 2017-07-16 2347

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