Drafting Spacial Policy Plan for Herent

The Municipal Spatial Structure Plan of Herent dates back to 2004 and has served as a guideline for spatial interventions in the municipality in recent years. After almost 20 years, this plan is in need of a thorough revision. In the new policy plan, we aim to outline the main lines for the coming decades. We do this based on a vision with long-term ambitions and strategies, as well as concrete actions and projects in the short term.

Due to the wide range of themes and challenges encompassed in a policy plan, the municipality requires additional field knowledge and insights. We approached residents, local partners, and experts, and listened to their insights and experiences regarding the functioning and activities within the municipality. Everyone's input is valuable and should find its way into the policy plan. An extensive preparatory phase, consisting of working sessions with the municipal government, a survey involving the residents of Herent, and an information booth at local markets and events, has generated a significant amount of information. This approach also allowed us to engage in conversations with the residents.

During the next step, the information from the preliminary phase was translated into the draft concept note. This is the first document that formulates an analysis of the current state of the municipality, its challenges, and ambitions for the future. It includes a long-term strategic vision with three policy frameworks that provide for short-term actions. Associated with this, an initial assessment was made of the effects of these ambitions on the environment. The notification note already describes the methodology for the environmental impact assessment (plan-EIA) as well as the current situation - how the municipality looks today. Finally, an estimation of the possible effects of the ambitions was also carried out.

Regarding these two documents - the draft concept note and the notification note - we have already received feedback during the public consultation. An information market provided a low-threshold kick-off for this period in which citizens could respond to the drafted documents. With the input received from citizens and other stakeholders, we will now work on further developing the strategic long-term vision and policy frameworks. For this phase, we plan to hold working sessions with the municipality to consolidate the needs of different sectors into a spatial vision that takes into account the municipality's trends, developments, and challenges. This vision will guide Herent towards the future with values, spatial principles, and work strategies.