I post this message on request of the ‘Vlaamse Vereniging voor Industriële Archeologie’ (VVIA, Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology):
sorry for any cross-posting
We URGENTLY need your support to save the coal preparation plant of the coalmine of Beringen (Flanders, Belgium).
Its volume dominates the skyline of the coalmine and the neighbourhood. It is a landmark and without it the site would loose a main part of its integrity and value. The Beringen coal preparation plant was scheduled historic monument in 1994, a year after the legal protection of the other mine buildings. This is the largest protected heritage site in Flanders.
The coal preparation plant is one of the largest and one of the last remaining of this size on Europe.
Since 2009 the redevelopment of the mining site is being carried out by a public public partnership, the Ltd BE-Mine, in which the Flemish government indirect holds 50% of the shares.
While the mine buildings themselves will be re-used, the situation of the coal preparation plant is different. For years the building was decaying left to vandalism, wind and rain - although the Flemish heritage legislation requires the owner of a scheduled buildings to take all necessary measures to prevent decay and even makes certain subsidies available for this.
In January 2018 the coal preparation plant was selected for the shortlist of 12 sites for the European campaign 'The 7 Most Endangered' - an initiative of the most important European heritage organization Europa Nostra with the support of the European Commission and the European Investment Bank Institute, with the support of the EU Commission's Creative Europe programme. This highlighted the fact that the building can be considered to be one of the major industrial heritage sites in Europe.
Since the beginning of 2017 rumours were arising that BE-Mine would like to demolish the coal preparation plant, or at least a major part of it, but... it was scheduled and one could hope and expect that the heritage protection would block these plans.
This was, however, overlooking the fact that the Flemish Government - also because they would like to save on the subsidies they would have to pay for the maintenance and restoration, would be in favour of lifting the heritage protection of the coal preparation plant...
At present a public consultation is taking place on the proposal to unprotect the building, and immediately after this has been done to grant a demolishing permit for almost two third of it.
Local associations, citizens and our Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology are fighting against this proposal. Hundreds of objections have already been submitted.
But we also try to get support from colleagues from other countries, individually or through an association, in order to make clear the international importance of the coal preparation plant.
SO YOUR SUPPORT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO US.
Don’t hesitate. The public consultation ends on March 19th (next Tuesday), but all letters sent by registered mail before that day are considered to be valid.
How to appeal against the removal of the heritage protection of the coal preparation plant ?
1) write a letter, in which you formulate your objection and the why of it . Sign it and then scan it (as jpg. or a .pdf) - see below under 4
2) send it by registered mail to the City council of Beringen
Stadsbestuur Beringen, dienst Wonen.
T.a.v. openbaar onderzoek kolenwasserij
Flanders - Belgium
3) go as fast as possible to the nearest post office and post the letter
4) send the scan of your letter together with the tracking code to the Beringen city administration at , and also to the Limburg chapter of the Flemish Association for Industrial Archaeology at <[log in to unmask]> . In your mail to our Limburg chapter add the following sentence “I hereby give power of attorney to the Flemish Industrial Archeology Association to issue this letter against receipt, and in my name, to the city of Beringen, to be included in the file of the public consultation”.
Send your letter and the mail on Monday afternoon at the latest.
More background information and pictures can be found at
On this page you will also find a series of examples of arguments that you can use in your letter of objection, and if you like we can send you a draft of a letter your can use
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