Neighbouring municipalities express their resistance against the planned national stadium in northern Brussels. Opposing MP reveals millions to be paid by taxpayers.
In November the Grimbergen municipality received Ghelamco’s planning application for Eurostadium, the 61,000-seat new national stadium of Belgium. Now, regardless of the proceedings, neighbouring municipality of Vilvoorde announced they would do whatever is possible to stop the project.
“It’s absurd that a project of this size is even considered on Parking C. Both environmentally and in terms of traffic this would be a disaster for the area, already characterized by the highest concentration of dust in the air”, says Vilvoorde mayor Hans Bonte.
He compared the daily operation of Eurostadium to how difficult the traffic situation is on two busiest events of the year. Vilvoorde lies in close proximity to the planned stadium and would surely see both the positive and negative effects of planned developments, which include 10,000 new parking places, offices and other secondary uses around the stadium.
Very similar concerns have been raised at the same time in Wimmel, another direct neighbor of Grimbergen. Meanwhile in Grimbergen itself well over 500 opposition appeals against the project have been filed and need to be processed.
“Caviar smeared with taxpayer money”
The planned Euro 2020 venue and proposed home for Anderlecht raises another kind of concerns, too. This time over public spending. While advertised as a 100% private project, the €320-million development also means significant public funding.
As the opposition MP of Brussels Arnaud Verstaete argues, costs associated to the scheme include €123 million for ‘exploitation’, €80 million for parking, €33 in security cost, not even including the value of Parking C land (estimated at €45 million), reportedly offered for free to Ghelamco.
Verstaete has been calling on Brussels finance minister Guy Vanhengel to reveal details of the agreement with Ghelamco but they remain unclear. That’s why the politician argues the deal is “caviar smeared with taxpayer money”.
Ghelamco assure things would get better
The Parking C investor continues to fight off critics. “The conditions after completion of the Eurostadium will be improved compared to the current situation”, Ghelamco director Philip Neyt argues. He promised the company has no interest in deteriorating the living conditions of the proposed stadium’s neighbours and announced Ghelamco would continue to tackle protests.