More than 60 new households in their rural areas. Local residents of Heihorst near Zeeland are not looking forward to this. Their residential area has been designated as a testing ground for combining nature, agriculture and living. There are plans for about 60 tiny houses in the area. And they think it’s way too much.
Lisa Gerrits currently still has a wide view on all sides around her house in the countryside near Zeeland, but that seems to be changing. “I came to live here nine years ago. There was an old bungalow that we completely renovated. It is a very nice place to live. We now see that completely going up in smoke with these plans.”
The De Heihorst area is just outside Zeeland. This piece of land has been designated by the municipality of Maashorst as a testing ground for experiments in agriculture, nature and housing. There is room for three initiatives in the 25 hectare area. The best known is Peel Natuurdorpen, which wants to create new nature with in between tiny houses.
“This disrupts the neighborhood.”
Gerrie Verbiesen has lived for 50 years near the meadows where the houses are to be built. From his house he overlooks the meadows all the way to Lisa’s house. If all the plans go ahead in a few years, they will suddenly get a lot of neighbors. And they think that’s way too much.
There are now about 65 houses in the area. In total there could be more than 60 tiny houses. “That disrupts the neighborhood,” says Gerrie. “It is a neighborhood where many farmers or children of farmers live. Sometimes a house is sold and someone else moves in. In this way, the neighborhood slowly changes, but the social bond remains.”
“A smaller number would be fine.”
“Now suddenly a lot of new people are joining us,” Gerrie continues. “Most are idealists. That’s a different breed of people. This changes the entire identity of the neighborhood. Our neighborhood is simply being doubled and social cohesion disappears. It will be a separate community in our community.”
But there are more concerns. Less privacy, more nuisance from traffic. And they wonder who will supervise the new residents. They believe that this is a task for the farmers who make their land available for it. “But most landowners don’t even live nearby,” says Gerrie.
“It’s a prestige project.”
Nevertheless, local residents say they are largely in favor of the plans. They think the new nature and different agriculture are a good idea. It is mainly the large quantity tiny houses that it bothers her. “A small number of houses on a farmer’s property would be fine,” says Gerrie. “But not as much as they plan now.”
Local residents are concerned that they can stop the plans. “We are not taken seriously,” says Lisa. “It is a prestige project and it must be successful.”
The municipality of Maashorst hopes to remove a lot of unrest with conditions surrounding the project. For example, a maximum of three parties may build houses in the area. Peel Nature Villages is one of them. Each initiative may build a maximum of 21 houses. Recreational houses are prohibited and soon at least half of the residents must come from the municipality of Maashorst.