‘Our lawn must stay’, 280 children from Den Ham beg, but disappointment and hope follow Almelo

VRIEZENVEEN – Of course they weren’t there, because for most children in De Smithoek primary school, it was of course bedtime when the city council considered their play area. Still, they let themselves be heard with a large pamphlet. ‘Our lawn must stay’, it read in chocolate letters. After a disappointing report, however, hope also followed on Tuesday evening for the 280 primary school children.

To start with the bad news for the children of Den Ham: the apartment complex next to De Smithoek seems to be getting there. As it stands now, a majority of the city council in February will approve an amendment to the zoning plan that will make this possible. Then the 280 children in De Smithoek will have lost the pitch on which they play so intensively, and they will be stuck in a schoolyard that is too small. But at the same time, the prospect of a completely new room was offered.


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Even with the toddlers we heard today: the promise is the promise.

Teacher De Smithuk

Councilor Roel Koster indicated that he had agreed an agreement with the director of De Smithoek to find an alternative. In addition, there will be a proposal from the Gemeentebelangen Twenterand to have the entire area inspected with a view to the arrival of a green playground. “Because there are way too many tiles,” remarked foreman Marcus Elzinga.

School was a little different

It followed a speech by two teachers from De Smithoek, who once again emphasized that the school yard is far too small. There is an ‘urgent need’ for a green playground where, among other things, the primary school’s many football fans can enjoy themselves. They were already promised that two years ago, with the plans for the arrival of a generation garden. This was confirmed by former councilor Martha van Abbema, who is today a councilor on behalf of ChristenUnie.

In line with this, the two teachers once again held up a mirror to Twenterand’s administrators. “Every day we work on the children’s social and emotional development,” it read. “Even with the toddlers, we already heard today: the promise is the promise. We want our children to grow into nice, capable and dignified people who look for win-win situations that create synergy. In this respect, it is up to the municipality to lead by example.”

This is all new to the mayor

But for councilor Roel Koster, it was all new until the publication in this newspaper. “As a councilman, it never came to my attention,” Koster said. “I read it in the paper. I read in the paper that promise after promise has been broken. I didn’t promise anybody anything. Neither did my predecessor. Nothing is black and white. Maybe a few lectures to go. But you can’t break a promise you don’t keep.”He made a promise: on February 9 he will talk to the director of De Smithoek in search of an alternative performance space.

The entire area overhauled for a green playground

Municipal interests Twenterand also seem to be turning the tables on the city council, a majority of which for a long time seemed to vote against the 7th of February. That party comes up with a proposal for a so-called nature-inclusive playground. The entire area around the school must then have an overhaul.

“I went to the opening of the school ten years ago and I thought there were already too many tiles there,” said foreman Marcus Elzinga. “There was an original request for a thirteen by eight meter football cage. This can also be done in front. And the room for maneuver was already too narrow ten years ago. Therefore, we are coming up with a proposal where the area for the school and surrounding areas must be rezoned. Safe and child-friendly with a nature-inclusive playground. Because there is incredibly little green here.”

Residents of Brinkstede are left empty-handed

While there seems to be a prospect for De Smithoek primary school, the residents of the housing complex De Brinkstede received a disappointing message.

If councilor Roel Koster has his way, the construction of the apartment complex directly opposite De Brinkstede will continue in its current form with three floors. The Owners’ Association (VVE) of De Brinkstede protested strongly against this, because all other buildings deliberately have two floors. But Koster relies on the advice of his urban planner that three floors are ‘usable’ here.

According to Koster, the whole process also went smoothly. He points out that the project developer has approached per letter to all involved. “I don’t want to talk about it again. The initiator has sent more than 100 letters asking for answers. Nine answers followed, about eight percent. All procedures have been followed in accordance with the law. In the end, I have two complainants. And there is done something about it. Light incidence from moving cars has been taken into account. And that’s it.” However, Koster indicated that the city council on February 7 can still thwart the plan. “It is recommended.”

But it is doubtful whether De Brinkstede’s VVE will leave it alone. Lawyer Gerben Klaren, who has spoken on behalf of VVE, can take the step to the administrative court. According to Klaren, who specializes in environmental law, it is wrong in urban planning to build higher than two floors. “Even though I think The Hague is a beautiful city, I don’t want to go to the Council of State. I prefer to go to the negotiating table,” said Klaren. But that conversation won’t come, it turned out a little later.

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