Off campus
Van Hasseltlaan

Residents concerned about building plan: ‘Four generations of students will live on a construction site’

The students who live on the Van Hasseltlaan are dissatisfied about the way things are going in regard to students housing provider Duwo’s construction plans. Their biggest headaches? Poor communications and the long construction time. “Duwo is not taking us seriously.”

(Photo: Delta)

It has long been known that student housing provider Duwo wants to build hundreds of additional homes on Van Hasseltlaan. Part of the colourful block of flats will be renovated while other parts will be demolished and hundreds of new builds erected there. Delta went to investigate and it seems that while students are happy that Delft will be getting more student housing, they are worried about the way that this will be done.

Apart from students, first time job seekers and young people up to the age of 27 may live there too. A Duwo spokesperson was unable to answer the question of how many housing units will be reserved for each group. Neither could it answer another 18 questions that Delta posed on subjects like the duration of construction, moving options and types of housing. The only thing that the spokesperson could say was that “about 400 new housing units are in the planning for students”.

Little information

And it is this lack of clarity that is causing many of the current residents concerns. “Duwo is keeping everything vague,” says Ayush, who has lived on the Van Hasseltlaan for about five years. He attended a residents’ evening held by Duwo at the end of November and has heard nothing more about the plans since then. “The information on the evening itself was minimal too,” he says. “Duwo did not give any clear timescale about what will be built when. So we have absolutely no idea what to expect.”

Ayush is worried about where he will live and about whether he will receive any remuneration for expenses like the placing of a new floor. Duwo has also not answered Delta’s question about moving cost compensation for residents.

Another resident, Maria, who has rented a home on the Van Hasseltlaan for two-and-a-half years, is also wondering where she will end up. She currently shares the flat with one flatmate. For Maria, this is a perfect arrangement. She has peace and quiet without having to live alone. “But this type of living arrangement – two residents who have their own rooms and share the amenities – will disappear. The only option for sharing accommodation will be to live with seven other flatmates.” She finds this a great pity. Not only for herself, but for other students who also do not want to live alone but do want to live in a more restful situation. “Seven housemates is really too many. And definitely if you are doing a master’s or a PhD.”

While the architecture firm that Duwo hired presented a model of the new residential complex at the end of last year, the Duwo spokesperson, Frans Pieter de Jong, says that he cannot say much about the building plans as the project is still ‘in the draft stage’. But during a residents’ evening, it becomes clear that there will be flats, studios, ‘studettes’ and ‘Sting’ homes. read-more-closed The housing provider published a news item about the plans in 2021. This showed that the current 718 student houses will be turned into about 1,197 residential units. The plan was to renovate 654 units and add 543 units. Duwo was unable to say whether these figures are still applicable.

If everything goes according to plan, the construction will start in 2025. Duwo will do the building work in phases. The whole complex will be delivered building by building to minimise the temporary loss of student housing. This will spread the construction time over a period of eight to ten years. This too is worrying the current residents. “If someone is just drilling a couple of holes, the whole building can hear it,” says Maria. “If Duwo will be demolishing, renovating and building for years and years, it will affect everyone on the Van Hasseltlaan. How will we be able to study at home?”

Four generations living in building noise

WijWonen, a tenants’ support organisation, shares these concerns, say its administrators Sten van Vliet and Silan Cicek. They point out that most students live in student housing for between two and four years. “This means that four generations of students will live on a construction site,” says Van Vliet. WijWonen would also have preferred a higher percentage of shared housing. read-more-closed

WijWonen is keeping a close eye on the building plans. “As many students live here for a short period of time, it is important that we act as one continuous voice on behalf of this group,” says administrator Cicek. In light of the reactions of both WijWonen and the people living around Van Hasseltlaan, Duwo has adjusted part of the building plans. Instead of a separate six floor parking garage, the lower one-and-a-half floors of one of the blocks of flats will be turned into parking facilities. “We are happy that Duwo listened to this,” says Van Vliet.

WijWonen is also in touch with neighbourhood residents. This latter group had previously expressed its displeasure at the long construction period and its perceived lack of a voice in the matter. Residents of the block and of the area are not in agreement about the number of homes that are planned. WijWonen would prefer as many student houses possible, while the neighbourhood residents would rather have 200 instead of 543 extra housing units. To date, Duwo has not considered the latter option.

Not everyone is upset about the eight to ten year construction period. Maarten says that the ventilation in his house has been lousy for years. He says that “it is high time that the rubbishy things are cleared away. If that takes eight to 10 years, so be it.” While Maria, Maarten and Ayush do not know what lies ahead, no new information evening has as yet been planned. Ayush and Maria have signed up to a mailing list for residents of the area instead of students. “The very fact that we are not kept up to date as a group shows that Duwo does not take us seriously at all,” says Ayush.

  • The full names of the people in this article are known to the Editorial Office.

While Duwo was not able to answer most of Delta’s questions, it did send a response about the communications with the current residents of the Van Hasseltlaan: ‘We spoke to the residents in the first residents meeting, to which we invited them by email. The project was announced in the email and in broad terms explained what the redevelopment will mean for the students who are renting rooms from us at that point in time. All the information available for residents of the area and the tenants is on en”

News editor Annebelle de Bruijn

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