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Progress made on plans to redevelop Schuman area in Brussels' EU quarter

Illustration picture shows the roundabout in front of the European Commission at Schuman (BELGA PHOTO PHILIPPE FRANCOIS)
07:27 06/05/2021

The redevelopment of the Schuman square at the heart of the European quarter in Brussels has taken a step closer to approval after a conciliation committee delivered a favourable opinion on the updated plans.

The committee reviewed an adapted proposal which included more trees and benches after a number of changes to the original plan were presented by urban.brussels, the urban administration, in consultation with Brussels Mobility.

An international architecture competition for the redevelopment of Schuman was won in December 2017 by the Danish agency COBE in collaboration with the Brussels agency Brut. The original plans came in for a lot of criticism at the time with several members of the Brussels parliament saying the wishes of local residents had not been considered and that their demand for more greenery had been ignored.

Now, after three years of deliberation, the proposal has been adapted to appease its critics. "I have always said that if the project could be improved, it would be," said state secretary for urban planning and European relations, Pascal Smet. "We listened carefully to all the comments made during the committee hearing."

As a result, more trees will be planted and because there is little space underground, certain zones will have to be raised. "This is done with respect for the original design and the safety requirements," added Smet.

Minister for mobility and public works Elke Van den Brandt was also satisfied with the outcome "The project now offers a square that is greener and more cosy, safer for cyclists and pedestrians and more accessible for people with reduced mobility,” she said. “In this way, the square can play its role at the heart of Europe and at the same time offer a friendly, pleasant atmosphere for local residents."

The redevelopment is intended to improve the traffic flow around the Schuman roundabout and provide more paths for cyclists, as well as to make it easier for persons with reduced mobility and the visually impaired to safely reach the central zone, which will become home to more trees and benches.

Once the plan has been adapted and the permit has been obtained, the preparations for the work can start. The redevelopment will be carried out by Beliris.

Written by Nick Amies