Chances of student rooms in vacant prison

Chances of student rooms in vacant prison

Overmaze is a “politically sensitive” issue

27-09-2021

Student housing in the former Overmaze prison in Limmel. According to city council member Alexander Lurvink (Groep Alexander Lurvink), this option should be “seriously and decisively” researched, he writes in a motion that he submitted together with GroenLinks and D66 on Tuesday 28 September. In addition to Overmaze, they also referred to the former Hudson’s Bay building in the city centre.

Coen van der Gugten from GroenLinks previously wondered (in a reaction on the Observant website) why the city council “hadn’t gone for the obvious quick solution like Overmaze”. “Neither clever, nor wise. Overmaze could house hundreds of students, fine apartments with a perfect communal kitchen on every floor, even a sports hall and spaces with washing machines, and all that at less than 10 minutes from the centre.”

Maurice Evers, head of Maastricht Housing, also calls the former prison with 600 units the ideal “overflow location”, a building where students can go when the need is great, “but also, for example, people with temporary admission or others in dire need.” During the latest meeting of the University Council, last Wednesday 22 September, he emphasised that the building had been mentioned by the UM several times over the past years, but that the city council had been holding back.

A lot of students live in Limmel, the area where the prison is situated, among others because that is where the Hotel Management School Maastricht is located. Residents have been complaining for years about the nuisance caused. Moreover, the residents protested only recently against the ‘sudden’ building plans for a large warehouse in the area – no one had been informed, the city authorities had failed to take a so-called preparation decision. It is not without reason that Evers refers to Overmaze as being “politically sensitive”. Still, as he said during the University Council meeting, he is hopeful that alderman Vivianne Heijnen “will make this possible”.

After it was closed as a penitentiary institute, Overmaze served as a refugee centre until 2017. Since 1 April, homeless people have been housed there by the Salvation Army, because in their building on the Statensingel the COVID-19 regulations could not be adhered to. As the COVID-19 regulations have been cancelled, the homeless can now return to the Statensingel.

 

 

 

Author: Wendy Degens

Photo: Kleon3, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Tags: studenthousing, student & city, shortage, rooms, overmaze

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