Controversial project in Bonn: 3858 sign list against residential complex at Melbbad

Controversial project in Bonn : 3858 sign list against residential complex at Melbbad

The citizens' initiative "Rettet das Melbbad" (Save the Melbbad) is fighting against the building plans on Trierer Straße in Bonn. On Monday, they handed over signature lists to Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan. He wants to talk to the owner, Vebowag, about changing the plans.

The initiative "Save the Melbbad" has collected 3858 signatures against the planned residential complex on Trierer Straße. On Monday evening, about 70 citizens handed over the lists to Lord Mayor Ashok Sridharan before a special meeting of the council. The Vebowag project is "not a construction for, but against the Melbbad", stressed initiative spokesman Volker Vogel. He indirectly threatened the head of the city with a citizen's petition. "We are prepared for every scenario," said Vogel, who lives near the bath.

The initiative criticizes the planned block of 99 residential units, which will be four to eight storeys high depending on the part of the building, as much too large. Complaints of the potential tenants against the public bath are considered very likely. The building will shade the swimming pool and block a cold air corridor in the Melbtal valley.

In the basement of the complex on a slope, Vebowag is to accommodate changing rooms and sanitary facilities for the outdoor pool. According to the city, the old sanitary wing can hardly be used anymore. The new building will ensure the continued operation of the swimming pool, emphasised Lord Mayor Sridharan. In addition, it is a matter ofcountering the lack of inexpensive apartments in Bonn. He announced that this week he would have a discussion with Vebowag about the "type, size and design" of the new building. For example, he could not imagine balconies overlooking the open-air swimming pool. Sridharan promised that the city would not finaliseany facts without first exchanging ideas with the initiative.

Application of the citizen federation Bonn

The majority postponed a proposal by the Federal Citizen Bonn (BBB) that the Council should take the decision on the project to itself to the next meeting on 26 September. Johannes Schott (BBB) warned that the development threatens the continued existence of the Melbbad. FDP faction leader Werner Hümmrich expressed doubts as to whether a residential complex was "compatible with the operation of the bath". He also had doubts about the construction volume and the climatic effects.

Dörthe Ewald (SPD), who, as the owner of a "saviour's card", is committed to the baths, advocated a compromise as soon as all the facts were on the table. "We must solve the biggest problem of this city", she appealed to the other parties. "And that is to create affordable housing." Rolf Beu (Greens) argued in the same way. He accused the project opponents of "stirring up fears, although in reality they are concerned about completely different issues“.

In 2018, the majority of the Council had decided in principle to build on the property on Trier Strasse in order to resolve the sanitation backlog. As there is no development plan in this area, Vebowag can, according to section 34 of the Building Code, build according to the neighbouring houses as soon as the city has approved the preliminary building application or issued a building permit. According to the press office, neither of these has happened so far. If a development plan were drawn up, however, citizen participation would be mandatory in all its forms. Vebowag has already announced the demolition of the old public pool building to the city, but wants to wait for the announced citizen information, as Managing Director Michael Kleine-Hartlage recently explained.

The association "Unser Melbbad" does not support the signature campaign of "Rettet das Melbbad", reported initiative spokesman Vogel. In an emergency, he told the GA that they were prepared to initiate a citizens' petition against the project: "We have already discussed this with a law firm. But it was also conceivable to start a fundraising campaign to co-finance the renovation of the Melbbad by the city.

(Original text: Andreas Baumann / Translation: Mareike Graepel)