Participation Ordinance in Spatial Planning

In early March 2022, the municipal council laid down the Participation Ordinance. With this ordinance, Waalre anticipates the Environmental and Planning Act, which will come into effect on January 1, 2023. Anyone wishing to carry out a construction activity in the physical living environment (such as a dormer window, business expansion, or the construction of a new apartment building) first needs to enter into a dialogue with the people who will be impacted by the plan.

Talk to each other in advance to find out what it is that people want, or don’t want. Try to arrive at a solution together before construction activities commence. That is what participation is about. The municipal council has drafted a number of rules for participation in Waalre.

On this page, you’ll find the most important changes you need to take into account if you want to change anything about the physical living environment, as well as links to some additional information.

What is ‘participation?’

Participation means that residents and other parties concerned need to be involved on time with the preparations for changes in their living environment. Watch this video for a brief explanation in Dutch of the concept of participation.

At what moment do I need to implement participation?

When your plan has an impact on other people.

Who do I need to involve?

Anyone who might be impacted by your plan.

What should participation entail?

In case of a common plan (such as a dormer window), you could inform your neighbors of your plan and ask them for their opinion. In case of a major construction activity (such as an apartment building), you could consider organizing an information evening for local residents at the community center during which you collect people’s responses. However, a website where people can leave behind a comment might also suffice, as long as it is in proportion to the plan’s impact. Read more (in Dutch) about methods for implementing participation.

Document how you implemented participation

When you apply for a permit for your plan, the municipality will want to know whether or not you implemented participation and if so, in what manner. That’s why you need to document the ways in which you involved the people who will be impacted by your plan. Also make sure to document how you put people’s responses and suggestions into practice. Read more (in Dutch) about what you need to document when you implement participation.

Advantages and disadvantages of participation

Discussing your plan with parties involved takes time and effort. But taking other people’s needs and interests into account can also be beneficial. When you manage to remove any objections your neighbors and other residents might have to your plan, you will not have to engage in time consuming and expensive legal proceedings. In addition, it feels much better to realize a plan when it is viewed favorably by your environment. Participation is also in your own best interest.

Environmental and Planning act makes participation obligatory

The Environmental and Planning act will come into effect on January 1, 2023. This act requires municipalities to implement participation in case of construction works in the living environment. The Participation Ordinance of the municipality of Waalre anticipates this act.


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