A petition with over 4,000 signatures has been collected to overturn the decision that a primary school playground in Nijmegen must be closed due to noise complaints. Residents in the area of De Buut primary school have filed complaints that the noise level often exceeds the 70-decibel nation wide limit for residential areas. This has sparked a national debate with questions being raised in parliament about affective city planning, reports a Guardian article.
Janneke Colsen, the school’s director says that “it’s a bizarre situation, and it is absolutely unfair to the children. Certainly now that we talk about it so often that children have to go outside more and have to move more.” There have been efforts to lower the noise, which has reached over 80-decibels, by shortening the hours the park is open as well as moving activities inside. Two years ago however the situation got worse since half of the play ground was taken to build a new apartment building, enclosing the playground with three walls. Erik Roelofsen, the director of the Dutch Foundation against Annoyance by Noise says this is a main issue since the noise has nowhere to dissipate to.
Critics of the decision to close the playground cite the Dutch women’s football team making it to the World Cup final this year as a reason why more money should be invested in getting kids playing outside. The council has listened to the protests and will look into the case within the coming days, according to The Guardian.