Belgian Pro League football team Club Brugge has expressed its frustration after efforts to deliver a new stadium that date back to 2007 were dealt another sizeable blow following the upholding of a complaint against an environmental permit granted in October 2021.
A group led by Belgian architecture firm B2Ai and French counterpart SCAU were appointed to develop the plans, which were due to see a new stadium (pictured) built on the site of the 29,000-seat Jan Breydel Stadion, which first opened in 1975.
The new stadium will seat 40,116 fans, is intended to provide a more intimate experience, and includes a number of eye-catching design elements. These will include its exterior being draped in a special type of highly resistant perforated textile covering, and its interior feature a 12,500-seat stand modelled on the famous ‘yellow wall’ at Borussia Dortmund’s Signal Iduna Park.
The project will also involve the development of an ‘Olympia Park’ around the new stadium, which will serve as a neighbourhood park for local residents on non-match days. Club’s long wait to secure a new home appeared to be nearing an end after the Flemish Government announced in October 2021 that it would grant an environmental permit for the project.
Despite what Club claims was the broad involvement of the local neighbourhood in the design, the permit was challenged by 16 local residents in an appeals procedure with the Council for Permit Disputes (RvVB).
The complaints have been upheld, with Club stating: “In today’s judgment, February 2, 2023, the Council ruled that these appeals were right and nullified the permit on the basis of an interpretation of the parking standard in the Bruges building regulations that we do not share, and because of an alleged insufficient motivation… regarding the environmental impact report.”
Stating that a “hypermodern and sustainable” football stadium must replace the outdated Jan Breydel Stadion, Club added: “An upgrade to a contemporary football environment is a must for fans, players, staff and local residents alike.
“The future Olympia Park combines a high-tech football stadium with a park and recreation area and unites sporting ambitions with strict social expectations regarding the environment, mobility and accessibility.
“Club Brugge notes that after 16 years, the plans for the construction of a new football stadium have again come up against a judicial annulment.”
Yesterday’s ruling creates fresh uncertainty for the long-running project. The Flemish Government’s Minister for the Environment, Zuhal Demir, who had granted the permit with Minister for the Economy, Hilde Crevits, told Belgian newspaper De Tijd: “The project is very important for the club and, by extension, sport in Flanders.
“We will analyse the decision of the Council for Permit Disputes and bring everyone to the table as soon as possible. We remain determined to work out a solution.”