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Framework plan adopted: New high-rise buildings in the Bundesviertel to be better distributed

Framework plan adopted : New high-rise buildings in the Bundesviertel to be better distributed

Bonn City Council has adopted a framework plan for the former government district. High-rise buildings, may be between 40 and 120 metres high, but are to be better distributed.

A decision has been made on one of the largest and most controversial Bonn development plans for the coming years: On Thursday evening, the framework plan for the Bundesviertel, which was drawn up by the Hannover office of Cityförster, was approved in principle by a large majority by the main committee. The plan defines a total of twelve points along three axes – towards the Rhine, the B9, and the railway line – and a decentralised distribution of high-rise buildings between 40 and 120 metres high. The central approach is for new buildings to represent a mixture of apartments and offices, in order to avoid traffic and in the future, to counteract the already heavy traffic flows.

In addition to the administrative bill, the main committee also passed a motion from the Jamaica coalition, against the votes of the Left Party and the Citizens' Federation of Bonn (the BBB). Above all, the motion aims to consider the development of transport. It is proposed to regularly monitor the development of the transport infrastructure, to pursue the cable car project and with the Rhein-Sieg-Kreis, to coordinate the traffic relief measures, which Cityförster touches on in the framework planning. Apart from a continuous expansion of public transport services, the Hanover office envisages so-called city hubs and regional hubs as part of its winning design, which was the result of a competition. These hubs are intended to make it easier to access public transport at central points within the city.

At the meeting of the main committee, Bert Moll, planning spokesman of the CDU, said: “It’s time to lead the district into a new age” and the framework plan is a “good starting point” for this. Werner Hümmrich of the FDP sees it as an instrument “to prevent uncontrolled growth and eliminate planning uncertainties”. However, he emphasised what Bonn's head of planning, Helmut Wiesner, has always stressed: The plan serves as a guideline, “but there must be exceptions”. The outline plan does not substitute for a legally valid development plan, which makes public participation mandatory.

Hartwig Lohmeyer of the Green Party spoke of “one of the most important decisions of recent years for the city”, but said that important details of the plan still needed to be worked out. It was not only the Greens who were bothered by the fact that Cityförster considers that establishing a further 16,000 jobs on the 500 hectares of land under investigation is possible (currently about 45,000 jobs), but had suggested housing for only 7,000 additional citizens. Lohmeyer said “The ratio must at least be equal.” The SPD also demands a significantly higher proportion of housing. Michael Faber of the Left Party explained his faction's rejection by saying that both the specifications for increasing the proportion of housing and the measures to avoid traffic jams were “too unspecific”. According to the Left Party, it was necessary to force companies to purchase job tickets. For the BBB, Marcel Schmitt justified their rejection of the plan by the opinion that “the limits of growth have been reached in the former government quarter.”

The plan was also criticised by the young association “the Bonn Citizens’ Action Group for Building Culture” by full-page advertisements in the GA and poster campaigns. The association sees the decentralised arrangement of high-rise buildings as a “fragmentation of the Siebengebirge panorama” and advocates a concentration of high buildings near the Post Tower.

Jürgen Mahlig, the grounder of the association mentioned on its homepage was not available on Friday. The Bonn real estate developer Marc Asbeck, one of the major investors in the Bundesviertel, supports the association in its view. He told the GA: “The fact that the central committee instead of the council is making such a far-reaching decision without listening to the many people who reject decentralised building construction is quite incredible”. According to the association's homepage, almost 20,000 residents have now voted against the framework plan. The main committee replaced the council on Thursday after a prior vote among the council members. Because the committee has fewer members, it was easier to keep the coronavirus-related distancing requirements.

(Original text: Philipp Königs, translation: John Chandler)