Discussing the future of Northern Oberursel

The town’s „development process“ (STEP) finally made it to the northern end of Oberursel at the beginning of October, when around 50 people followed the invitation of the „Forum Nord“ to come to the Grundschule am Eichwäldchen to take part in a discussion about the future of the area.

The „Forum Nord“ is a collaboration between the social organisations in the area and was set up in 2005, obtaining „e.V.“ status in 2010. It currently has 17 member organisations.

After the introductions those present were asked to note down on green and red cards what they though the positive and negative aspects of the area are. These were then attached to a chart that had been split into two halves. But not equal halves. There was enough space for three columns of red cards, but only two of green ones. As such, there was not enough space for all of the cards to be attached and especially a lack of space for the green ones.

Many of the positive aspects where named over and over again, such as the closeness to the woods, the shops, the good connections to the road network and the U-Bahn, the kindergartens and the schools, the playgrounds for children up to 10 and also the fact that the area is relatively quiet.

On the negative side there were a variety of topics, such as the lack of an office from the town in the area (“Stadtteilbüro”), too many cars, things for teenagers to do, a lack of community rooms, the fact that many new houses are built very close together, the traffic situation around Frankfurt International School, too little for pensioners to do, too few child-care places, the plans to build on the area previously used by the riding centre and the increase in traffic associated with it, and finally the fact that the size of the relatively new primary school does is becoming too small for the catchment area.

These points were collected, read out, but not commented on.

(Click to enlarge)

Instead, Jan Schulz from the external town planning agency explained the “potential maps” which showed the areas of buildings, forests, leisure activities, etc. in the town, before taking us on a photo tour of the area.

Well, almost of the area. Having ascertained that “Nord” starts at the Lahnstraße, the first photo was of the Rolls Royce field, which is on the other side of it. The photos then only went as far as the U-Bahn crossing in front of Edeka (near the old entrance to Camp King), before turning right towards the Eintracht sportsfield and returning to the Lahnstraße. There were no photos of FIS, the Rosengärtchen, Camp King itself, or even anywhere near the Hohemark.

Lack of time during the walkabout was cited as the reason.

One of the new pieces of information for most of those present was that a home for disabled people is due to the built on the field at the end of the Hedwigsweg, opposite the catholic kindergarten. The planning office also has a couple of suggestions. One is to leave the fields between the Eschbachweg and the B455 as they are and not to build on them. The other is to turn the shopping centre on the corner of the Dornbachstraße and the Dillstraße which currently houses a number of doctors’ surgeries into an old peoples’ home.

So having shown only haft the area turing the tour, it was maybe no surprise than when moderator Joachim Fahrwald asked if there were any topics that had not been covered the first three were all from the other part of the “Nord” area.

These were: the planned building on the area occupied by the riding school, the destruction of forest to make way for the new FIS sports hall and plans to build behind the Taunus Information Centre.

A number of other topics were also collected on this list, but to the annoyance of many present not much information about anything was forthcoming. Instead the topics could be divided into two groups.

1. Things that have already been decided and as not part of the STEP process.

2. Things that will be discussed further at the next STEP even on 30th October in the town hall at 6pm.

My own suggestion that the area needed its own elected representation, ie. an “Ortsbeirat”, even if it is only in an advisory capacity like the one in Bommersheim, fell on deaf ears at first (with even a protest from an Oberstedten resident that it would take powers over the away away from that Ortsbeirat), but after the suggestion was made a second time it was at least added to the list for future discussion.

But that was not what people wanted to hear. They did not want to hear that it is either too late, or that they need to go to a different meeting to discuss their topics. They wanted to discuss them there and then and would have probably stayed a considerable amount of time longer to do so.

As it was, the evening was wrapped up and we were asked to imagine how we would explain to a guest from India in 2030 (who had done their A-Levels at FIS in 2012) how the area had changed for better or worse.

However the guest from India probably did not get much in the way of information, as those who did not get up and walk out at this point stayed to discuss their topics, whether the town planners and their agency liked it or not.

 

About Graham Tappenden

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Oberursel in 1993 and returned with his family to live there in 2003. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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