Den Helder residents buy villa to stop asylum center plans
Two residents of a villa district in Den Helder decided to stop plans for an asylum center housing 16 young asylum seekers on their street by buying the property involved themselves. The villa cost over 500 thousand euros, AD reports.
The central agency for sheltering asylum seekers COA wanted to house 16 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 in a villa on Linieweg in Den Helder. All the teenagers involved are kids who traveled to the Netherlands by themselves and don't have a residency permit yet. The COA houses such unaccompanied kids outside of ordinary asylum centers, in smaller shelters and with counselors available to them 24/7.
At the end of June the COA announced its plans and the location and arranged an information evening to discuss it with local residents "But just before the evening started, we heard from the broker that the property has been sold", COA spokesperson Jan Willem Anholts said to the newspaper.
The detached villa had been for sale for over six months at an asking price of 599 thousand euros. Data from the Land Registry shows that it was sold for 540 thousand euros early in July, according to AD. The buyer is a company owned by two local residents. They did not want to comment to AD.
The COA planned to renovated the villa's five large rooms so that it was suitable to house 16 young people. "Of course, we had consultation with the municipality in advance, this location seemed appropriate. We'll see how we handle the new situation." Anholts said to AD.
There is already an asylum center housing 600 people in Den Helder, including 100 unaccompanied kids. Another small shelter for unaccompanied children is also planned in the city. This one is not located in chic villa neighborhood and so far the plans continue unhindered, according to the newspaper.