Entrepreneur Rob Wagenborg proclaims his vision for Zuidlaren like a Don Quixote. “It moves me when a more beautiful village emerges”

More space for care, culture and housing: entrepreneur Rob Wagenborg from Zuidlaren sees opportunities to make his beloved village even more beautiful. But aren’t his plans too late?

Thick reams of paper rest on the long wooden table. Economic reports, cultural analyzes and maps, surrounded by stacks of handwritten A-fours. Rob Wagenborg (68) puts his reading glasses, which are held together with tape and paper clips, directly over his nose and flips through the documents. “Just look, I’m a bit of a dinosaur,” he says with a smile.

Culture instead of trade

Wagenborg has been looking for months for ways to adjust plans for the center of Zuidlaren. Less attention for the commercial side, more space for housing, care and culture. Basically, he agrees with the new construction plans that Alderman Jurryt Vellinga (Leefbaar Tynaarlo) in January presented for former Prins Bernhardhoeveterrein (PBH). But according to Wagenborg, things could be better. “I’m not an opponent, but I lack vision. There’s still room for that. No plan B, but a plan A more.

Hurry up. A volume study will be presented in June to determine if the Régie’s plans fit into the PBH site. The administrators opt for two supermarkets with a layer of housing, care and a cultural center. “There is no integrated plan,” says Wagenborg. “I want entertainment in the village, a meeting place, a place of culture. This makes a village livable. According to my own calculations, it is financially feasible to build a single supermarket. »

No concrete commitments

Despite discussions with aldermen and council members, Wagenborg has yet to make any concrete commitments. The entrepreneur looks for allies in his network. He sees himself as the spokesperson for associations and citizens concerned about the plan put in place. “I’m portrayed as the leader of an action group, but I talk to everyone, damn it,” he said indignantly.

He wants to speak during the discussion at the city council, hoping to change the minds of the council members. The chances of him succeeding are not great, thinks party leader Annemarie Machielsen of Leefbaar Tynaarlo. “In this way, you are reopening a discussion that was closed a year and a half ago after years of debate. Options have been thoroughly discussed, residents now need action. She agrees with Wagenborg that more attention should be paid to a culture house. “There are now 500 square meters reserved for this, it needs to be bigger. We will put our hands in the dough for that. »

affordable housing

Herman van Os (D66) is also skeptical. “We all share the ambition to make Zuidlaren even more beautiful. We find ourselves in this mission, but the sums are difficult. I wonder if there is enough revenue with a supermarket to meet the council’s wish to also realize affordable housing at the rear of the PBH site. These are complex calculations that you don’t just do.

Like Wagenborg, PvdA party leader Anneke Lubbers is not in favor of two supermarkets. “But most of the council is. I don’t think they will change their position.” She appreciates that the involved residents of Zuidlaren are actively making their voices heard, but does not feel obliged to publicly support the ‘A-plus’ plan. “Over the past few weeks, council members have received email exchanges between Rob Wagenborg and the Zuidlaren trade association (VOZ), which has been closely involved in the development of the plans, they absolutely do not agree with each other, these are not not pleasant emails to read.As a party we don’t want to jump between the two.We have the discussion in the council.

A happy person

Wagenborg doesn’t want to know how to give up just yet, he says with a list of statements of support in hand. “The decision is not before June. Comfort is lacking in current plans, and that’s so important. Maybe I’m wrong, and the board convinces me that I’m going to be a happy person according to their plans. It is ultimately the most important. It moves me when a more beautiful village is created.

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