Public housing, sustainability and green space are more important than low-rise buildings and rigorous participation. Right now, housing in Wageningen should be green and at least 30% public housing. Furthermore, housing should be built using rigorous participation and in order with the village-like character of Wageningen. The municipality has shown its failure in achieving these goals as the shortage of housing is rising. This has led to conversations in the council about approving housing construction outside city limits, in the periphery of Wageningen. We need to make careful and clear choices, letting go of low-rise building and rigorous participation processes. Wageningen is host to one of the most extreme rules on renting out student rooms. This means that only 5% of the houses per street are allowed to be used for renting out rooms to students. All other political parties in the Wageningen council support this rule. We think this is an example of shortsighted governance. We see that many youths, PhD-ers, graduates and starters are unable to find housing. We also see that divorce is taking place more often. For all these people, the rental of rooms could be a good solution. We therefore think it is very important that this policy is being expanded.
We think that everyone who wants to live in Wageningen must be able to do so. Because of thegrowing housing shortage and rising rent prices, we want to grant priority to people who are strongly connected to Wageningen. These are people that have grown up here, study here or work here. The municipality itself does not construct housing but uses land-use plans or development plans to make a planning within its municipal borders. The biggest partner of the municipality in the construction of housing is IDEALIS and the housing corporation. IDEALIS says it wants to construct housing, however, indicates receiving too little priority by the municipality. The housing corporation says they are looking for a balance between constructing new housing and making already existing housing more sustainable.
In Wageningen, about €0.15 million of the €106million euros is budgeted towards housing. This is 0.14% of the total available budget. This is negligible and we think a larger budget should be appointed.
The fight against the 5% rule
In recent years, the municipality has limited the rental of rooms to students. Only 5% of the houses per street are allowed to be used for renting out rooms to students. This means many houses are not available to the housing market, which puts young-adults, students and starters are a more difficult position to find accommodation. Wageningen has the strictest rules concerning the rental of rooms in the Netherlands, eventhough it is also the city with the highest percentage of young-adults and students in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, we were the only political party in the Wageningen council to dedicate itself to this issue.
Fight against the eviction of students from their homes
As a student you are dependent on your landlord for requesting permits and licenses for renting outrooms in their property. This is logical, however, it was very unfortunate that after the adoption of the 5% rule many landlords did not take action. After our initiave, with help of CDA, VVD and Stadspartij, we have been able to take action regarding this issue. However, this remains an important example of the effects of the 5% rule.
Supporting plans for construction of removing of obstacles
Just like most political parties in the council, we have supported the plans throughout recentyears for the construction of housing and removal of barriers of obstacles to these plans.
Focus on high-rise buildings and protecting nature
In recent years wehave focused on the construction of high-rise housing because we want to prevent the construction of housing outside city limits. The periphery of Wageningen is known for its nature and green areas such as the Binnenveld and Wageningse Eng. Unfortunately, we were in the minority within the council, leading to the approval of plans for construction in green areas without looking at alternatives such as high-rise buildings within city limits.
Voted against extended participation plan regarding Olympiahall
According to mostparties, a more accurate participation plan should be adopted for the Olympiahall. We were against this because processes like these often lead to high expectations and a disappointing result. This is a location that is appropriate for more housing, while the shortage of housing is rising. Residents within the neighborhood do not want to be met with housing and would rather see a park.
Pitched ideas about peak-accomodation to alderman
Immediately after obtaining our position in the council, we pitched several ideas to thealderman. These included houseboats, allowing the squatting of vacant homes and offering locations to camp. The alderman seemed very enthusiastic about the ideas. However, no action to accomplish them has yet been undertaken.
Conversations with the municipalities of Ede and Renkum
Other parties within the municipality, are onlyinterested in constructing student housing in other municipalities. We think itis odd to make an exception for students in this case and think that for all citizens, the municipality should look outside municipal borders. These borders do not always say much about travel times. We have ensured that students are included within the conversations around these subjects.
Hotline for lazy landlords
Together with GroenLinks, we have fought for aregistration point for lazy landlords. Unfortunately, the first attempt was notsuccessful.
To be a contact point for housing
We ensure mutual exchange surrounding the planning of housing. We include the people of Wageningen, professionals, developers, realtors, and politicians. We maintain a positive and critical stance and are an appreciated partner.
Protest for more student housing
We have organized a tent-protest, calling out formore student housing. Together with, among others, the student union, we stoodwith tents in front of city hall and talked about the issues with those interested.
Call for a pilot for flex-living
Together with CDA, we have filed a motion to supporta pilot, researching the possibility flex-living within Wageningen. We thinkthis is a very suitable solution.