• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Future of Berlin Airlift site hangs in balance

Tom Bristow · 28 Jan 2014, 10:49

Published: 28 Jan 2014 10:49 GMT+01:00

A debate has raged over the future of Tempelhof Airport in the south of the city since its closure in 2008. Its open space is currently used for concerts and city gardening. 

Developers want to build apartment blocks and a central library on the edge of the site, but people living in the area hope to preserve it as a green, open space.

The development plans sparked a petition which gathered enough signatures to force a city-wide referendum on the future of the site.

CLICK HERE for more Berlin news

An initiative called "100 percent Tempelhofer Feld” gathered 185,328 valid signatures – 174,117 are needed to spark a referendum, equivalent to seven percent of Berlin’s electorate.

Around 233,000 signatures were gathered in total but thousands were invalid as only those with German citizenship or registered in Berlin counted. The final number was still enough to send the decision to referendum.

Berlin’s Senate will now need to fix a date for the referendum. May 25th, the date of European Parliament elections, is being touted as a potential, the Tagesspiegel newspaper reported.

It would increase turnout and therefore the chances of success of the referendum.

Berlin’s last referendum in November over whether to take the city’s energy grid back into public hands failed because of a low turnout. A referendum needs at least 25 percent of eligible voters to support the proposal for it to be ratified and a majority of those who do vote to say yes. 

Tempelhof Airport was used by the Allies to break the Soviet blockade of West Berlin in 1948. 

PHOTO GALLERY: Tempelhof airport 

Architect Jens Oberst, whose library was among two winning designs selected by Berlin's Senate for the site in December, told The Local that the referendum would not influence his plans.

He said: "We’re of the opinion that it is precisely our project which fits with a desire to have an open public space - not in the spirit of a backward looking minority, but in the spirit of integration and communication among different societies, societies which distinguish cities like Berlin whose diversity should be developed and realized.

"Our project can take on this function. It is more than just a library."

READ MORE: Berlin Airlift site touted as tech start-up hub

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Bristow (tom.bristow@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Bavaria train crash
Controller 'twice tried to warn trains before Bavaria collision'
Flowers at the crash site: Photo: DPA

Controller 'twice tried to warn trains before Bavaria collision'
2 hours ago

The rail controller in the south German town where two trains collided on Tuesday twice tried to stop the accident that killed eleven people.

France and Russia blast Merkel's refugee policy
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls (l), Chancellor Angela Merkel (m), Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev (r). Photos: DPA

France and Russia blast Merkel's refugee policy
3 hours ago

Close allies and bitter rivals alike are urging Merkel to change course.

Germany ‘must act now to defuse debt time bomb’
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had some grim reading in his briefcase this week. Photo: DPA

Germany ‘must act now to defuse debt time bomb’
3 hours ago

A leaked government report says Germany's aging population is a debt explosion waiting to happen.

The Local List
The 11 types of American you meet in Berlin
Photo: DPA.

The 11 types of American you meet in Berlin
5 hours ago

Which one are you?

Top German general praises Russian bombing in Syria
Harald Kujat, former chief of staff of the Bundeswehr (German army) inspecting Ukrainian troops in Kiev in 2004. File photo: DPA

Top German general praises Russian bombing in Syria
6 hours ago

A former top general in the Bundeswehr (German army) has praised Russia's campaign in support of brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

'Short German' text speak spares you from grammar
"...and if you leave out the adjectives, you can forget about the Dative!" Photo: DPA

'Short German' text speak spares you from grammar
7 hours ago

Could text speak do away with German speakers' woes with cases and adjective endings?

Are Germans right to fear limit on cash payments?
Photo: DPA

Are Germans right to fear limit on cash payments?
9 hours ago

Plans for an upper limit on cash payments have stoked fears of government and corporate control in Germany.

Cologne attacks 'not organized': police chief
Police patrolling outside Cologne Cathedral on Rosenmontag, the high point of carnival, this week. Photo: DPA

Cologne attacks 'not organized': police chief
10 hours ago

The cathedral city's new top cop is trying to ease tensions over the New Year's Eve sexual assaults that cost his predecessor his job.

Germany praises 'new hope for Syria' after Munich talks
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (l) and refugees in northern Syria near the Turkish border (r). Photo: DPA

Germany praises 'new hope for Syria' after Munich talks
10 hours ago

Germany's Foreign Minister thinks that the latest deal offers "new hope" for people in war-torn Syria - but can Russia be trusted?

Eleventh victim claimed by Bavaria train crash
Recovery crews watch as a crane lifts one of the train carriages from the site of the wreck outside Bad Aibling, Upper Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Eleventh victim claimed by Bavaria train crash
1 day ago

A further victim has succumbed to their wounds after Tuesday's horrific train crash in southern Germany.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
National
Border controls, sea patrol: Merkel's plan to cut refugee arrivals
Sponsored Article
Back to Boho chic: Win your new season wardrobe
Berlin
Berliner fights police and bus driver for right to keep eating Döner kebab
National
What we know so far about the Bavaria train crash
Culture
10 essential words you'll need when visiting Cologne carnival
Technology
Army presents new camo pattern that can fool night vision goggles
Health
Disabled people explain what life is like for them in Germany
International
How to vote in the US election when you live abroad
Business & Money
The small town planning to get rid of small change
National
Top five inventions of Germany's 'patent king'
National
Pensioner crushed in hospital machine
Politics
Could Bernie Sanders get elected in Germany?
Society
Most German conservatives back gay marriage: poll
Politics
'Russia aims to weaken the EU. The refugee crisis is an opportunity.'
Gallery
Eight wonders of the world's biggest toy fair in Nuremberg
National
Islamists and Neo-Nazis both ready for violence, say spies
Frankfurt
Drunk-driving cop tries to escape through toilet window
Berlin
How Berlin Bowie fans paid tribute with art on ice
Police fight rumours they've been hiding truth on refugees
Berlin
Brave passengers grab man accused of shoving woman under train
National
Software bug means German jets can't fly at night
Rhineland
First suspects arrested after Cologne sexual assaults
Politics
Berlin to North Africa: take deportees or give up aid cash
7,159
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd