The Nuenen city council previously announced that the Gulbergen estate is not suitable as a reception location for asylum seekers. Nevertheless, the Eindhoven Metropolitan Area (MRE) has again proposed to the municipality to settle 500 asylum seekers there. There are 21 municipalities in the MRE, all of which own the estate.
The 500 asylum seekers would be housed in residential units. The shelter has a permanent character, for a period of 10 years. Mayor Frank van der Meijden of the municipality of Laarbeek is the initiator of the proposal on behalf of the MRE. “Together with the COA, we have explored whether the area could be suitable.”
The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers previously stated that it likes the location. Gulbergen is a rural area, where an old waste mountain is located. There is also a zoo and a golf course. Many people don’t live there.
The possibility for Gulbergen was already mentioned last year by the municipality of Nuenen itself, but the city council did not like it. “They have not spoken out against the location, but it was not preferred,” says Van der Meijden. The MRE wants to get clarity by submitting it to the municipality one more time.
“We have to receive 1900 asylum seekers. Even more if the azc in Budel closes.”
The MRE also had other plans for the area, such as recreation, nature-inclusive agriculture, wind turbines or solar panels. According to Van der Meijden, housing asylum seekers need not stand in the way of other plans. “Of course it has an impact, we are aware of that, but I always see opportunities in it.”
According to Van der Meijden, the region is facing a major challenge. “We have to receive 1900 asylum seekers. If the asylum seekers center in Budel closes, there will be even more.”
There must be a plan for the reception of asylum seekers in the Southeast Brabant region before 1 April. Van der Meijden does not want to say what other plans there are for the reception of refugees. “All kinds of subregions and project teams are currently working on this.”
“The reception of asylum seekers is a major challenge, but a feasible one.”
They are looking for another place in Nuenen, but Van der Meijden doesn’t think that’s a problem. According to him, the municipalities are betting on several horses. “I am also looking in my municipality. There are several roads that lead to Rome. We hope to soon be able to put the puzzle together when it comes to the reception of asylum seekers. It is a big challenge, but an achievable one.”
Nuenen also participates in the MRE. According to Van der Meijden, the Executive Board and the Council will now consider the proposal. The MRE will not force Nuenen to accept asylum seekers on the Gulbergen estate. “The territory belongs to Nuenen, who determines what will happen there.” It is not yet clear when Nuenen will respond to the proposal. “I don’t want to put pressure on the municipal council,” says Van der Meijden. “They should be able to lay their eggs there now.”
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