Summary of the 16/01/2023 information session about the stadium project at Boulevard de la Deuxième Armée Britannique, Forest
Union SG organized the first information session about the new stadium project at Boulevard de la Deuxième Armée Britannique on Monday the 16th of January 2023. The presentation and related explanations are available following this article. The land on which the club wishes to set up the stadium (stadium with a capacity of 15,000 to 16,000 seats) is currently undeveloped land that belongs to the municipality of Forest and is located in an area that is already allocated to outdoor sports and leisure according to the PRAS. The information session was organized to clarify with all the inhabitants of Forest, interested persons, supporters, and the press about the exact location, the size as well as the mobility solutions envisaged for the new stadium project. It also aims to rectify outdated and erroneous information circulating on the planned stadium and to explain that:
- The Parc du Bempt as well as the green spaces will remain intact. The park is a good distance from the proposed land, even beyond the current sports grounds of the Bempt sports complex.
- The sports fields currently operated will also remain. The club also wishes to create additional pedestrian access for the existing sports complex and the planned site for the stadium. This should allow young athletes to travel more safely to their training sessions.
- No stores will be set up in the stadium. The club’s intention is to build a football stadium that reflects the soul of the Union as much as possible. The club is open to discussion, for example with the Red Flames or the national rugby team, regarding the potential multifunctional use of the stadium.
- No hotel will be built on the site. In 2018, when the club began discussions with the municipality (with the previous mayor, Mr Roberti) and the Brussels Region, the hotel was still an option. Nevertheless, in order not to jeopardize the feasibility of the project, it was abandoned in the plans along the way.
- The stadium will be entirely self-financed by the club, and no financial support is required from the public authorities.
162 participants attended the information session, which had to be split into two sessions to accommodate all participants. The first part of the presentation focused on the current financial situation of the club and the need to build its own stadium.
The participants also attended a general presentation of the project detailing the location and layout of the stadium on the site as well as the possible access routes. It was also stated that disruption would be kept to a minimum.
The second part of the session focused on mobility around the site. Further information was shared on the various tram and bus stops already existing near the site, as well as on the Forest-Midi and Forest-East stations. In total, there are already three tram lines, five bus lines, and two train lines in the immediate vicinity of the proposed site. Union will meet with STIB, SNCB and De Lijn to optimize the frequency of these lines on match days.
Around half of Union supporters currently walk or cycle to Stade Marien. We expect to be able to at least maintain or even increase this number, which demonstrates the club’s strong local roots.
This is why we are planning several bicycle parking lots around the stadium (you will find more information on this following this article by consulting the slides of the presentation), including a permanent bicycle parking lot that can also be used by the children and young people who use the Bempt sports complex on a daily basis.
As for car parking, 28% of our supporters currently go to the Marien stadium by car. The club has investigated the car parks available in the vicinity of the planned stadium. It appears from these investigations that there are up to 5,500 parking spaces available (you will find more information in this regard following this article by consulting the slides of the presentation), whereas according to the club’s estimates, between 1,400 and 1,900 parking spaces would be needed to accommodate supporters. It is planned to work with shuttle services between the car parks and the stadium.
In the third and last part of the presentation, police commissioner Philippe Boucar of the Zone de Police Midi took the floor. He addressed security issues related to the stadium. Among other things, the site has a major advantage in terms of easily and separately welcoming visiting supporters. They can be escorted to their stands via a direct and separate access point. Similarly, the escort of visiting supporters after the match can be done via a separate access route to the R0. The Midi Police Zone pointed out that the proposed site has huge organizational advantages over the current site, where all entrances are along the same street.
“We have been working on this stadium project for more than four years and today we believe that it is time and that we are ready to present it. The new stadium will secure the future of the club for the next 50-60 years, this is so much more important than any game win or award. During the briefing, we did our best to answer any questions from local residents and supporters, but we remain obviously open to dialogue with all interested parties. There will also soon be a new meeting with the municipality of Forest, at the end of which we hope for a positive result.”
CEO Philippe Bormans
For any questions relating to the stadium project, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.