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Brussels approves major development plan for South Station area
The Brussels regional government has approved the PAD Midi renewal development project, which will transform the area around South Station. Plans include a pedestrian zone that runs from the Esplanade de l’Europe at the north end of the station all the way to Rue des Deux Gares in Anderlecht.
The new car-free esplanade will run down the Rue de France, which will be renamed Place de France. It will end in a park in an area of Anderlecht sorely in need of more green space.
“We will include as much green space as possible within the entire perimeter of the PAD Midi, including within the residential blocks,” says Brussels minister-president Rudi Vervoort. “This will address the problem of heat islands and improve the quality of life of residents.”
Vervoort also says that water will be part of the overall design, though what form it will take is as yet unclear. Part of the project also sees the marsh next to Wiels in Forest at the centre of a new green space and playground.
As for the streets directly around South Station, some 12,500 square-metres of office space will be turned into living quarters. But an additional 175,000 square-metres of housing will also be created, as well as space for shops and services for residents. Vervoort calls it “a residential-friendly” neighbourhood.
The mayor of Saint-Gilles, where South Station is located, is behind the project. “The project is indispensable in bringing unity and cohesion to the development of this perimeter,” he says. “We want to studiously avoid permits being issued for single project that fragment the area. That would also have a negative effect on the transparency of urban planning decisions.”
Now that the project has been approved, the municipalities involved are opening up the project to public inspection and feedback. That process lasts two months; it is unclear when works will start on the new project. Anyone interested in providing feedback should contact the municipality in question – Saint-Gilles, Anderlecht or Forest.