“We will soon have a small village here”

“We will soon have a small village here”

Six hundred new student homes in Randwyck

06-04-2022 · Background

MAASTRICHT. Randwyck is going to get another six hundred new ‘container homes’ next autumn. These will be situated on the waste land on the Oeslingerbaan alongside the already existing 252 student rooms. On Wednesday evening, 30 March, the development company Studenten Huisvesting Maastricht informed the neighbourhood about the plans. “While we were thinking that we would get a beautiful Calatrava campus, we will soon be saddled with almost a thousand student homes and a parking lot full of cars at our front doors.”

Safety is one of the most important points of attention that Peter Broekmans, director of Studenten Huisvesting Maastricht (SHM), mentions at the end of the meeting for neighbours. In a communal space in one of the existing ‘container blocks’ on the Oeslingerbaan, about fifteen neighbours have come together. Broekmans realises all too well, just like Patrick Dillen from Plaza Resident Services (formerly Camelot), responsible for management, that a small village is shooting up. And a project like that must be managed properly. No less than six blocks, each with one hundred self-contained units will be added. The units will be built in the C3Living factory in Limburg and transported as prefab packages to Maastricht. A temporary permit of ten years applies to these homes.

Dire

Neighbours from the surrounding area listen carefully to the plans. Nobody gets angry, but there are worries, about the quality of life, disturbance, et cetera, “eight hundred cyclists in front of my door”, “the value of our houses will decrease”. Someone else wonders why they to build here again, rather than on the Graanmolen, further along, “where nobody is bothered by it”.

Fred Bunk, policy advisor for the city of Maastricht, explains that this is the only location that can be used quickly and without too many problems. The ground is owned by the university and they said: ‘This can be used’. The situation is dire: “We are assuming a doubling of the growth of student numbers next September, and knowing that there are less new complexes becoming available, we need to make haste with new homes.”
The building permit has already been applied for. The developer wants to start preparations in April. Completion is planned for August and September, “but then everything has to go according to plan,” says Broekmans. “It is an ambitious plan.”

Parcel service

Those present have already had two years of experience with more than two hundred studying ‘male and female neighbours’. They know all too well what needs to be improved on. The delivery guys who drive past dozens of times a day to deliver parcels, they drive too fast in a neighbourhood where there is a primary school and crèche. The manager promises that there will be a service for parcels. “Parcels will be stored in a depot and brought to the location once a day. Students will be given their own lockers, so they don’t necessarily need to be at home to receive the parcel.”

Another source of irritation is the coming and going of meal couriers from Thuisbezorgd, and drug dealers who come to sell their wares, just outside the grounds. When it comes to drugs and alcohol use, we maintain a zero-tolerance policy, Dillen emphasises. “Two warnings after a report of disturbance, or if the caretaker sees it himself, and on the third occasion you can pack your bags. Our caretaker is present 24/7. He does rounds in and around the buildings and is the contact person for students. We see that it works. When there are eight hundred students living here, we will intensify this.”

Brighten up

“Is it really quiet at ten o’clock in the evening on the grounds? Also, who says that they won’t move to playgrounds or sports fields in the neighbourhood to barbecue during the summer?” was another worry. According to Dillen, the police and enforcers will also have to take responsibility. “We have asked the police to make space available for such large student numbers.” One person present is sceptical: “The same thing was said to me two years ago. But in cases of disturbance, when I call the police, they say that they have no time.”

Maurice Evers, head of Maastricht University’s Student Housing, offers up a plan that is still “in the orientation phase”: a pavilion for communal activities, where students, but also neighbours, can meet each other. The university will also free up some “financial means” to freshen up the area surrounding the blocks. “We want to brighten up the place, with things like benches and plants. We are appealing to the neighbourhood to join in.”

 

Author: Wendy Degens

Photo: archive SHM

Tags: building kit homes, studenthousing, student & city,randwyck, student housing, housing crisis, room shortage, students,sorbonnelaan, prefab,instagram

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