The tram still has priority, even in the context of land use planning in Brussels
The Council of State (Conseil d’Etat) confirms that the construction of a tramway is independent of the land use requirements and may be carried out in all areas of the Regional Designated Land Use Plan (PRAS), even in green areas.
Local residents had introduced an action in order to obtain the annulment of a building permit issued by the Delegated official of the Brussels-Capital Region. The permit in question authorized the construction of a building, a maintenance hall and a tram warehouse, as well as new infrastructure and track construction works, on the Marconi site, Chaussée de Ruisbroek in Uccle.
In a decision no. 232.810 of 4 November 2015, the Council of State rejected the appeal, based on the wording of Article 24, paragraph 2, of the CoBAT and on the PRAS maps (specifically the maps on the land use (4) and public transportation (6)).
While the PRAS has special requirements no. 25 and 27 for public transport, these requirements have no standards related to “zoning.”
The Council of State therefor concluded that the construction of a rail road – and more specifically the of a tramway – can be carried out in any area, regardless of the zoning, and therefore even in green areas.
In response to the residents’ arguments, the Council of State ruled that neither the general requirement 0.7 (allowing the construction of facilities, that are in the collective interest or qualify as a public service, in all areas, as long as they are compatible with the main purpose of the area and the characteristics of the surrounding urban environment), nor special requirement 10 (which for green areas, authorizes only acts and works that are strictly necessary for the land use in that area or directly pertain to its social purpose) should be taken into account when analyzing the question of constructing tramways.
We believe that this decision could be invoked for other means of transportation than tramways.
Photo: Rajarshi MITRA - (CC BY 2.0)