Settlement reached in Freiburg
It seems that the long running dispute between SC Freiburg and residents living near the new Europa Park Stadion has finally been resolved ! The Bundesliga club played its first game in the 34,700 capacity stadium, a friendly against St.Pauli, back on 7th October but have since been unable to stage matches in the evening or on Sunday afternoons because local residents fought a successful legal campaign against the stadium operator Stadion Freiburg Objektträger and the City of Freiburg over concerns about noise pollution.
In response to the ruling, Freiburg's mayor Martin Horn approached the vexed homeowners and negotiated an out-of-court settlement that ends the dispute that began with a referendum of the stadium plan back in 2015. Horn said: “ We have mutually found a common and good way into the future. Both sides can live well with the fair agreement. I would like to thank everyone involved, especially the plaintiffs. I am pleased that a long-standing conflict is now being resolved in this way .” Part of the settlement includes a commitment from the city of Freiburg not to build on a 10 hectare forest that surrounds the stadium over the next 30 years and instead use it to create a bird sanctuary. Furthermore, the City is stumping up €100,000 (£84,322) to renovate playgrounds and meeting places in the local Mooswald district. Further restrictions on use over the next 10 years were also guaranteed and as a result the Europa Park Stadion can't be converted into a multi-functional venue and it can't host any concerts or open-air cinema events with more than 5,000 spectators. Measures aimed at reducing traffic congestion on matchdays was also discussed.
The settlement has yet to be approved by the City Council, but it's expected to be given the green light.
Horn said: “ There are neither winners nor losers here – both sides have approached each other. We know about the special situation of the residents of the Mooswald and have found reasonable solutions for it .” Oliver Leki, SC Freiburg board member, added: “ I am delighted with the settlement that we have found, which gives us important planning security. “Good neighbourly relations in the entire district are very important to us. Our thanks go to the mediating initiative of the Lord Mayor and to everyone involved who contributed to this result. ”