New students in Delft. Photo: Delta

Delft, key issues: housing, integration and jobs

We asked the main political parties in Delft to answer three questions, based on the issues which DutchNews.nl readers said were most important to them in our recent poll: ensuring enough affordable housing, stimulating integration and creating jobs. These are the answers so far:

D66
1 We want to improve the balance between the social, rental and buying segment to be an attractive city for different target groups. D66 therefore wants more new construction of modal rental housing (rent between €700 and €900 per month) and owner-occupied homes in the middle segment. With a larger share of mid-segment housing, there are also more (affordable) houses for international Delft people.

2 D66 wants the municipality of Delft to ensure that asylum seekers and refugees can learn the Dutch language from day one. This way D66 wants to give them the chance to find a new home, to develop themselves and to contribute to society. By making guidance on choices in the field of work and education, the municipality can help these new residents to build their lives in good cooperation with aid organizations. If more than six months of guidance and support are required, the municipality will adjust this policy. D66 also wants more supervision on the quality and effectiveness of language lessons. For children of newcomers, D66 wants two-year international switch classes to be available.

3 D66 wants to improve the business climate of the city for international companies. Delft is an international city with many expats. The presence of internationally oriented education is an important reason for expats and international knowledge companies to come to Delft. D66 therefore wants to encourage that. In addition to the international primary school, international secondary education will also be offered in Delft.

VVD
1 The housing market in Delft is dominated by social housing, which is not accessible to expats. The VVD in particular wants to encourage extra housing in the middle and upper rental segments – where expats are looking. We want to increase the supply for this group.

2 The VVD considers integration primarily to be the responsibility of the newcomer him or herself. The council should have enough education on offere to show newcomers the way. It can only force people to learn Dutch once they they become financially dependent on the council through welfare benefits.

3 The VVD wants to bring manufacturing industry to Delft, where people with all levels of education can work. We will do this by cutting red tape, developing industrial estates and creating a good climate to relocate.

GroenLinks
1 GroenLinks wants to see several thousand new homes built in Delft, in every price range. Ensuring there are sufficient affordable homes is a key feature of our programme. The Schieoevers and Spoorzone are suitable locations for new developments. Groenlinks also believes that empty offices should be converted into housing units. Additional short stay housing for international guests will be developed in the Spoorzone.

2 In order to feel at home in Delft it is important to quickly learn how to speak Dutch. While this is primarily the responsibility of the individual, we believe that refugees, as a vulnerable group, deserve extra attention. To help them learn the Dutch language, we want to support them in building social networks and stimulate them to participate in voluntary activities, language courses and sports.

3 Delft actively supports companies from around the world in establishing themselves in our city. We do this in cooperation with the regional Innovation Quarter. GroenLinks wants to strengthen this cooperation and make Delft an even more attractive place to do business, for example at Technopolis, which provides an interesting environment for innovative companies. GroenLinks also works to keep Delft a green, livable city for their employees, with excellent education and cultural amenities.

CDA
1
Delft is a densely populated city. There are plans to build another 15,000 new houses. The CDA has doubts about this number. 15,000 new houses means that Delft must grow by 30%. Where can we build so many houses? Delft cannot expand its borders, so we must build the houses within the current city borders. But where? What does it mean for local traffic, for other local facilitates. The CDA have asked for an impact analysis to see what the impact of this number of houses will be. If this impact analysis shows that building so many new houses will require too many concessions for the quality of living for current residents. This would imply that more new houses must be built in the region (the Rotterdam – The Hague area).

Of course international residents, like national residents, must not be ripped off by unscrupulous housing agencies. There are already strict national regulations about what is allowed when you rent a house and what is not allowed. This information should be easily available on the website of Delft, so that (inter)national residents can check if they pay a fair price and obey the other rules.

2 The CDA encourages new arrivals to learn the Dutch language so that they can fully participate in our society, especially when they intend to stay in our city or country for a long time. We see an important role for a buddie scheme through which volunteers can help, and the city council can assist in this. In addition, w think it is important that new arrivals participate in the society and meet people from other nationalities. The CDA strongly believes in initiatives from society. This means that the government must not enforce this, but must encourage, stimulate and facilitate.

When there is a demand from the international residents and these residents take the initiative, the CDA would encourage the development of an international school in Delft.

3 It is very important for the local economy that new business set up in our city and stay here. This is one of the reasons that the CDA has doubts about plans to develop 15,000 new homes. Recently, in the city council there was a discussion about Schieoevers, a large business park in Delft, which accounts for 10% of local jobs. The local governments wanted to build thousands of new houses on Schieoevers. But this can endanger the activities of companies, because there are strict regulations about industry near houses (e.g. regulations about allowed noise, but also about working with dangerous substances). Building so many new houses on Schieoevers could imply losing businesses and hence losing jobs. The CDA, together with a majority of the city council, chooses for jobs over houses for Schieoevers. Houses are allowed but only if it is guaranteed that these new houses will not impact on industry.

SP
1 Yes affordable housing is a big issue in our city! The Socialist Party is the only party in Delft that wants to build more social housing in stead of destroying a part of the housing stock in order to rebuild expensive residences. Our city is should be a place for everyone, not just for the happy few with a big income. We want to build 3,000 affordable houses for rent the next four years and support the renovation of old houses.

2 Learning Dutch is important to find your way in a new country. The SP wants the local authorities to contribute to language lessons for people that cannot afford them. Additionally, we have learned from organisations that help battle poverty, that a local coordinator for refugees and immigrants is needed very much to show people the way to social care and financial regulations.

3. In terms of jobs, People starting their own business is great, but doesn’t need to be subsidised by the local authorities. They have done this in the past years and it hasn’t lead to substantial economic growth. What we should do is to create jobs by executing important tasks as healthcare at home, waste collection or transport for elderly people as a local authority ourselves. This will help citizens in two ways: making a better, social city and providing jobs and decrease the amount of social security needed. This will also lead to economic prosperity.

STIP
1 Delft has the ambition to build another 15,000 houses by 2040. STIP wants most of these houses to be built in the middle segment (Between €700 – €900 per month), because currently there is a huge shortage for young people and professionals who are looking for their first home. These houses will of course also be accessible for the international community, while a higher supply in this segment should also lead to unscrupulous housing agencies having less of an impact on the market. In the ‘Spoorzone’ new housing blocks are being built, partly aimed at international residents.

2 STIP thinks it is important that the municipality encourages integration and should offer clear information in English on all the available courses in Delft. Delft is an international city and should be proud of it, activities focused on the international community like International Comedy at Theater de Veste should therefore be facilitated.

3 STIP wants to improve the business climate in Delft. Delft is full of knowledge and we want to put that to good use, our city must become the national High Tech Capital. We will test the newest technologies in Delft and bring our institutes of knowledge, such as the TU Delft, closer together. We aim to create more space for manufacturing companies and draw more (international) high tech companies to our city. That way we can create jobs on all levels of skill, practical and theoretical.

To attract more companies and workers STIP believes it is important to have a lively city filled with events, affordable housing, international education (both primary and secondary) and good service for international citizens.