Village centre renovation at Spiere-Helkijn

Helkijn is a small rural municipality that lies on the banks of the River Scheldt. The Scheldt was decisive for the development of the village. Goods were delivered and removed via the Scheldt. The relationship between the Scheldt and the village square was restored in the design. The village square is characterized on the one hand by a potential residential quality, but also by important through-going agricultural traffic.


Location: Spiere-Helkijn

Client: Spiere-Helkijn Munipality

Period: 2008 - 2009

Services: preliminary design, permits, implementation

The project aims at the redevelopment of the Doornikseweg, the redevelopment of the Kerkstraat and the municipal square, the Brugstraat, the Baljuwweg, the extension of the Elleboogstraat to the Doornikseweg and the reconstruction of the section between Kerkstraat and Elleboogstraat.

The works were not just limited to aboveground reconstruction; a lot had to be done underground. For example, a separate sewerage system is being created in the project area.

Owing to the size of the works, the project is divided into various phases.

The redesign of the village came just in time because traffic was causing significant problems. There was a comprehensive search for solutions aimed at making Spiere-Helkijn a pleasant, environmentally and traffic-friendly village. Traffic in the Kerkstraat was reduced by introducing one-way traffic and a new street was constructed parallel to the Kerkstraat for returning traffic. There are also road narrowings, 30 km zones and other interventions that slow down traffic. The aim is to make the road user aware that he must give priority to the vulnerable road user when entering the village centre.

The church square becomes a relaxing place with green, landscaped terraces and decorative lighting. The intention is to return the sense of village and to create solidarity with the rural character along the Scheldt. From the churchyard there is a view from the Scheldemeersen and different kinds of materials have been chosen for the construction of new streets.