Promotion of 250 flats in the vacant lot in front of Carrefour in León, executing the roundabout of Polígono X rejected 17 years ago

Promotion of 250 flats in the vacant lot in front of Carrefour in León, executing the roundabout of Polígono X rejected 17 years ago
Promotion of 250 flats in the vacant lot in front of Carrefour in León, executing the roundabout of Polígono X rejected 17 years ago

The next major new housing development in the capital of León, which will launch a new and small ‘neighbourhood’, is now much closer to its start. It is the so-called NC12-01 sector but more popularly known as the historic vacant lot located in front of the city’s Carrefour shopping centre, on the corner formed by the large avenues Europa, Fernández Ladreda and Alcalde Miguel Castaño.

Everything is ready from an urban planning perspective for the development work to begin on this plot of land that has been in a precarious state for decades, housing everything from circuses to trucks and parked cars, and then the construction of a total of 251 homes spread across several blocks of flats, between four and seven stories high, depending on the area.

A new urban area that, by ceasing to be considered a pedestrian priority and finally admitting unrestricted vehicle traffic, as has just been approved, will depend largely on internal roads that connect Avenida Europa with Miguel Castaño. This, and the need for direct access for cars, would make it essential to build a large new roundabout on Avenida Europa, a traffic circle with up to six lanes in each direction.

This is about reviving an old and controversial project, a roundabout whose design would also open new access to Poligono X, a neighborhood with more than 5,000 potential residents who have already successfully fought against this project for 17 years under the Mayor Mario Amilivia, and who again showed their opposition five years ago when it was revived in the last months of the Mayor Antonio Silván.

The large roundabout appears drawn on the plans for the new housing area, although it is not part of the development, but would have to be executed by the City Council, for which Silván also left completed but put in a drawer what the PP called “feasibility studies” for four roundabouts, with a total public expense of more than 33,000 euros.

On both occasions, with Amilivia and with Silván, the president of the Residents’ Association of Polígono X, Juan Carlos Díez Pérez, reflected the majority opinion of the area to argue that “it makes no sense” because it involves “a mixture of interurban and urban traffic” and eliminates the green zone, arguing that it would be “more logical” to build a mirror-image roundabout without invading the Polígono, and if they have to invade an area, let it be part of the new zone.”

While this is being decided or not, the future new housing area in the ‘descampado de Carrefour’ has been under initial impetus since 2019 by the drive of four sisters of the Castro Martínez family, with the detailed study promoted by the Compensation Board of this sector of Unconsolidated Urban Land now being placed in a long process that has accumulated quite a bit of delay but is nearing the end.

Two weeks ago, the final approval was published, which had been endorsed by the Plenary Session of the León City Council at the end of May 2023, even admitting an objection from the Carolina Rodríguez Foundation and rejecting other claims. And now there is only an open period for a possible contentious appeal, now in the last instance.

The detailed study has been modified over the years and, in fact, the number of homes has increased, which started at 201 and finally grew by another 50. Among the main new data of the future development, after numerous changes, there are 47,841 total square meters of surface area, with just over 5,000 square meters of new open spaces. The total buildability is limited to 5,887 square meters, almost 1,500 of them for free housing and the rest for public housing.

The blocks will be built on one side on the corner of Avenida Europa, as a continuation of the last buildings built there some time ago, and two more buildings after number 71 Alcalde Miguel Castaño, a little further on from the old Livestock Laboratory, now abandoned, and close to the roundabout with the rampant lion where the KFC restaurant is located, specifically on a plot of land that has been fenced for decades.

In the meantime, internal roads have been drawn up, which will occupy more than 8,500 square metres and, after the change, will be open to unrestricted vehicle traffic – previously the area was “pedestrian space with occasional vehicle access.” A total of 168 public parking spaces are listed in the sector, apart from the private parking spaces for homes.

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