In an extreme attempt to get clarity about the secret deal from 2014 between the municipality of Gooise Meren and developer KNSF, NH News appeared today at the Council of State in The Hague.
That provided little clarity, because many questions remained unanswered in session room 1 of the Council of State. There, the case between NH Nieuws on the one hand and the municipality of Gooise Meren and real estate developer KNSF on the other hand served.
Briefly back in time. After years bickering In 2014, the municipality of Muiden (now Gooise Meren) and KNSF Vastgoed concluded an agreement about the area where the new De Krijgsman district is now being built in Muiden. This broke the impasse, in which a claim for damages from KNSF against the municipality of 370 million was on the table.
NH Nieuws would like to be open about this agreement and submitted a WOB request in 2015. Several lawsuits followed, both before the administrative court and before the Council of State. Today’s case was about breaking the secrecy of important parts of the settlement agreement (VOK) from 2014.
NH Nieuws’s lawyer pleaded for openness today, because it is in the general interest of the residents of Muiden. A lot of public money is involved in this agreement and Muiders have a right to know how it was spent, according to the lawyer.
The opposing party, the municipality of Gooise Meren and KNSF together, indicated during the hearing that openness of affairs is not desirable. This can lead to social unrest, which can harm the progress of the project.
“How bad is it that society is involved in the discussion? It is about taxpayers’ money, so the citizen should be allowed to know,” one of the members of the Council of State then asks. According to the municipality and the real estate developer, there are still various conflicts between them, through so-called arbitration cases, and openness of affairs can further strain mutual relationships and thus disrupt the further realization of De Krijgsman. (Arbitration resolves a conflict without going to court. Experts make a decision on the case, and documents can be kept confidential in this process.)
During the hearing – despite repeated questions – it is not clear what exactly the conflicts between the municipality and real estate developer KNSF are about.
The consequences for the inhabitants of Muiden of the development on the site of the old gunpowder factory were and are significant. Allotments and the local sports club had to make way and the population of Muiden will increase considerably due to the 1300 homes that will be built there.
In six weeks, the Council of State will rule on whether the entire 2014 agreement should be made public.