Sugar factory Veurne. Photo: WVI
View on the sugar factory Veurne

Sugar Factory Veurne

The project site is situated in the city of Veurne. Veurne is a medieval city in the region Westhoek that borders to the North of France and the North Sea. The city of Veurne has about 8 500 inhabitants and about 12 000 when also the small surrounding villages (9) are taken into account.
Veurne is a typical provincial town and in spite of the low number of inhabitants, it is a regional center for the West Coast and the region Westhoek, together with towns like Ieper (Ypres) and Poperinge.
The project site, called the sugar factory site has a size of about 46ha and is now owned by wvi. The sugar factory started working in 1923 and made sugar out of sugar beets. The surrounding farmers delivered the beets. Due to globalization and increased competition, the factory closed in December 2005. The factory itself has been demolished.
The project site lies along the canal Nieuwpoort – Duinkerke and next to the Veurne railway station, which is a node for local busses (to the coast and the villages of the rural hinterland). There is a direct train link from Veurne to Ghent, Brussels and Brussels Airport towards Leuven.
The site is situated in the center of the historical city, what makes that a ¼ of the town will be redeveloped which is a unique opportunity.
De Lijn, the public transport company for busses and trams in Flanders, also has plans to extend the Coast Tram (which runs along the Flemish coast from Knokke to De Panne, about 67 km) inwards to Veurne. This will raise the importance of Veurne as a regional node for public transport.

Sugar factory Veurne, draft master plan. Photo: WVI
Sugar factory Veurne, draft planning from the master plan

The project history

In August 2010 the master plan for the site has been finalized. 1/3 of the site is foreseen to become a housing development (about 375 dwellings), 1/3 is foreseen for business/commercial development and 1/3 will be preserved for nature development and recreation (nature, park and court yards).
The master plan gives answers on how to develop and realize a good mix of the different functions on the site, but also answers on how to link the site to the canal and the recreational axes, the railway station and the city center on the other side of the canal.
Wvi is responsible for the development of the complete site and considers that the phased development will take about 15 years to get fully realized, from 2010 til 2025.
Because of its location, its size and the specific nature values present at the moment, this regeneration project is unique in many ways and one of the biggest in its kind in Flanders. Therefor wvi wants to examine and gather international knowledge on how this new part of town, once developed, can be managed in relation to the existing part of the town and the nearby touristic seacoast region, in a long term sustainable way. The most ideal management structure is one that engages wvi, public bodies, private investors and citizens into a scheme that demands and allows for engagement from all these parties.
At the same time a good marketing for the site, the city and its surroundings is necessary to keep it attractive, for business, living and recreation, also as an alternative for the nearby touristic seacoast region.

Sugar factory Veurne. Photo: WVI
Sugar factory Veurne

Aims and objectives

  • Develop a model/tool for a flexible management and exploitation structure that starts working as from the first developments and that continues working over the different phases and beyond realization, to keep de site sustainable and attractive for living, working and recreating.
  • Develop a marketing strategy and instrument (communication platform), that informs all actors (public – private – citizens - …) during all phases of the regeneration project and beyond.
  • Develop public – private partnerships for investment and employment. In the development wvi will act as a public development agency to realize the public space of the business parks. The businesses itself will buy the plots and invest in their premises.

The city of Veurne assumes that the business park will create about 500 jobs. The realization of the housing will be a classic public – private cooperation between wvi and the social and private housing companies. For the nature development, divided in 3 axes (nature, park development and courtyards), wvi wants to find the best solution through the Manage+ project.

The new develoment in the area of the former sugar factory was under revision to reach cost effectiveness. In the development process a complex stakeholder involvement was carried out which has led to the construction of a new management centre ("het Suikerklontje") which is located in the very middle of the development area (see detailed information in final documentation chapter 1.3).

Contact and Information

West-Vlaamse Intercommunale
Baron Ruzettelaan 35
B - 8310 Brugge
Tel: +32 (0) 50.36 71 71
Fax: +32 (0) 50.35 68 49
Project co-ordinators
Saskia Verriest
Eveline Huyghe

Logo project partner West Flanders Intermunicipal Association