The housing shortage in North Holland is so high that many voters feel in favor of using green outlying areas as construction sites. 47 percent of North Hollanders are now in favor of new housing estates outside village or city limits, according to a survey by broadcaster NH in collaboration with Kieskompas.
There is also a shift within politics and that is remarkable, because the province of North Holland has always been firmly against building in green.
The so-called ‘explanation locations’, ie green areas that can be built on, are a hot topic during the provincial elections.
If you ask the people of North Holland, whether they live in Amsterdam or Schagen, almost half are ready to lift the taboo of building in meadows. 38 percent are against it, despite the housing crisis.
End of no-go policy
Interesting is the support among potential D66 voters. The party is against building outside the existing borders. Only 46 percent of D66 voters believe that building in green is a necessary choice. Forty percent are against.
Even among the potential voters of the most stubborn opponent, GroenLinks, a substantial part sees no other way out than to turn green into stone. 32 percent of them are in favour.
Half of the potential PvdA voters are in favor of expanding construction sites outside the municipal boundaries. This is 59 percent among VVD members.
These parties are still pursuing a no-go policy in this area in the coalition.
Politics seems to
Building in meadows or other green spaces is also very popular among politicians. And not only in the head of the province where aldermen roll around with the province to get construction sites loose against the housing shortage.
It also plays a role in Haarlem, where Peter van Kessel (VVD) came up with the proposal during the municipal elections to also look for construction sites outside the city limits.
“Well, that really turned out to be a no-go”, he looks back. The other major party candidates rejected his suggestion as one bloc.
Van Kessel still supports his proposal. “Of course not in places with really valuable landscape. And you could also compensate for nature elsewhere. But we are running into limits. You can develop neighborhoods in a green way. You have to look at that and not close the door in advance.”
Professor of Area Development Friso de Zeeuw from Monnickendam is also in favour. His message: Remove the taboo from building in green, otherwise you will never meet the building assignment of more than 180,000 homes in the province.
According to him, by adjusting the rules, the north of the province can ‘bring relief to the boiling pot of the region around Amsterdam’.
This will be a left-right battle during and after the elections. Who wins this? The game is on the wagon, you could say.
According to De Zeeuw, building in green can be a solution under certain conditions. “True nature reserves must be spared, but it often concerns agricultural land. The locations must be developed in harmony with the environment.” That happened, for example, with Weespersluis, a large plan between Weesp and Muiden.
He hopes that the province will abandon “the rabid preference for inner-city construction”. “This will be a left-right battle during and after the election. Who will win this? The game is on the wagon, you could say.”