The municipality will investigate whether the existing sites can be expanded with parking spaces for caravans. There is great demand for this, but on the other hand there is demand for normal housing and there is only limited space.
A few years ago, the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights stated that living in a caravan is an essential part of the cultural identity of caravan residents. The central government, local authorities and housing associations have been reminded of their obligation to protect and facilitate this cultural identity.
Since this ruling, the National Ombudsman and the state of Utrecht have addressed the issue. Finally, the municipality included the following in the housing vision for July 2019: “Together with stakeholders, we want to explore possibilities for further offers and possible modifications to the allocation procedures.”
There are currently 137 locations in Utrecht, divided into 34 locations. The largest site contains fifteen stadiums and the smallest one. Twenty-nine locations have two or three stadiums. For comparison; Amsterdam has 190 stadiums, Rotterdam has 113, and The Hague 223. There are currently approximately 115 people on the Caravan Site waiting list in Utrecht.
According to the municipality, it is not easy to expand the existing sites. After all, the rack occupies a relatively large area, while at the moment the policy is aimed specifically at using rare lands as efficiently as possible.
Sports, green and public spaces
The municipality recently announced the Utrecht Spatial Strategy (RSU). This indicates that in the city there is a need for space for sports, social facilities, green spaces and public spaces.
“In all cases, the proper use of the land is examined as possible,” the municipality said.
Partly for this reason, Utrecht wants to encourage municipalities to build more stadiums. Data from 2017 shows that caravan sites can be found in seven other municipalities in the region around the city. These are located in De Ronde Venen, De Bilt, Houten, Nieuwegein, Stichtse Vecht, Zeist, and Vianen. There are a total of 200 stadiums in these municipalities, 140 of which are in Zeist.
From the conversations that the municipality had with caravan residents, it was found that they are not specifically looking for a site in the city. Residents find it especially important to live with their families.
Mobile home centers in high-risk locations
This spring, however, the municipality will investigate the possibility of building additional places for the Utrecht caravans. It also takes safety into account. The image of urban erosion showed that the caravan sites are at risk. “Increasing the location of the caravans could exacerbate the problems.”
The investigation will take several months. “It will not only focus on where the additive location is possible in the spatial sense, but it will include a broader consideration in which competing spatial interests and social aspects are also taken into account.” The municipality expects to obtain a result in the second half of this year.