Efteling is not allowed to expand for the time being. The zoning plan of the municipality that should enable the growth of the amusement park is rattling, according to the Council of State.
The highest administrative court gives the municipal council of Loon op Zand six months to adjust the plans.
Local residents and businesses fearing major nuisance had filed the case to thwart the expansion. The judge does not agree with their objections, but has found fifteen defects in the zoning plan.
The necessity of the expansion has not been properly substantiated, according to the Council of State. Currently, almost 90 percent of the park is undeveloped. The municipality and Efteling would like to keep it that way, but they need to substantiate this better.
Furthermore, “the plan offers too much scope for Efteling” and the consequences of the intended growth for local residents and nature have not been correctly assessed on all points. For example, insufficient research has been carried out into the extent to which growth leads to nitrogen emissions and what the consequences are for the nearby nature reserve De Loonse en Drunense Duinen.
From five to seven million
Efteling wants to expand considerably, so that the park can receive about 7 million visitors by 2030. Now there are about 5 million a year. Additional parking spaces and recreational facilities must be built around the park. The plans also provide for adaptation and expansion of the road network.
The municipal council of Loon op Zand unanimously approved the park’s plans in 2018. The opponents then filed a lawsuit.
After an urgent procedure, the neighbors of Efteling also managed to postpone work last year. The park management would have liked to quickly start building a new attraction in the expansion area, but the highest administrative judge ruled that the park had to wait for the decision in the so-called substantive proceedings.
Now there is an interim ruling. After the municipal council has taken a new decision, the Council of State will assess whether all shortcomings have been repaired.
What is Efteling’s formula for success?
Efteling is one of the most successful European amusement parks. But to stay that way, it will also have to renew.