• 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
Brexit vote
Merkel: Britain can’t cherry-pick Brexit terms
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday that the EU could survive a Brexit and warned Britain the union would not tolerate "cherry-picking" in upcoming negotiations on their future relations.

This film makes Darmstadt look more romantic than Paris
The Russian Orthodox Church in Darmstadt. Source: City, Light and Movement.

Not quite sure where Darmstadt is? A short film shot by a Syrian refugee will have you rushing to locate it on a map.

VW agrees to $14.7 bn payout in US emissions probe
Photo: DPA

Volkswagen has agreed to pay out $14.7 billion in a settlement with US authorities and car owners in the probe over its emissions-cheating diesel-powered cars, court documents showed Tuesday.

Brexit vote
Left leader calls for German referendum on EU deals
Left Party leader Sahra Wagenknecht. Photo: DPA.

The left-wing leader of the official opposition party in Germany said that it’s time the German people also have a say on what goes on in Brussels.

Teacher overpaid quarter of a million euros. No one notices
Photo: DPA

The Düsseldorf teacher was paid a full-time salary for six years, despite only working part time.

Euro 2016
Germans react with glee to England’s Iceland humiliation
Distraught England players after Iceland defeat. photo: DPA

Still upset by their British brothers voting for Brexit, Germans expressed an overwhelming sense of Schadenfreude at England's Euro 2016 exit.

Cleaning spray sets off shock explosion in Frankfurt cafe
Photo: Frankfurt fire department.

Four people have been injured in an explosion at a cafe in a Frankfurt shopping district. The culprit: cleaning products.

Brexit vote
Merkel vows to create 'new impulse' for EU
Chancellor Angela Merkel with French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The leaders of Germany, France and Italy vowed on Monday "a new impulse" for the EU as it reels from Brexit.

Police investigate after 'Nazi knifeman' threatens President
Demonstrators protest against the visit of President Joachim Gauck. Photo: DPA.

German President Joachim Gauck was confronted by some aggressive right-wing extremists during an official weekend visit, including one man carrying a knife.

Telekom warns all users to change passwords after scam
Photo: DPA.

German giant Deutsche Telekom is warning customers to change their passwords after finding that up to 120,000 customers' data was being sold on the black market.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
7,830
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd