It has not been an easy choice that the old church hall would be the hub in the Helsingborg student life. Part of the church thinks the premises have been sold too cheap. The politicians on the other hand have grand plans.
The church hall is situated close to the student housing at Bryggaregatan and has walking distance to Campus Helsingborg. But it has not been obvious that the Church of Sweden would sell to the City of Helsingborg,
Fredrik Sievert, member of the Helsingborg parish council, was from the beginning against the decision that the City of Helsingborg should purchase the property. He had the opinion that there were other potential buyers who should be given the chance to make a bid. For instance had the EFS church an interest in purchasing the premises.
“I really think it is a very good suggestion to turn it into a student housing. I just wanted to emphasize that the EFS church would be investigated as a potential buyer before any decision was made. But it was investigated rather quickly and then we decided that the City of Helsingborg would purchase. To my knowledge no one in the parish council was opposing the decision,” says Fredrik Sievert.
“Not considered commercial”
There is also criticism towards the price for the church hall being too low. The price is at present 10 million SEK, but according to some observers would the property’s value be 12.7 to 19 million SEK if sold on the open market.
“We have according to my opinion thoroughly tested the need of new premises and the reasons for this and also documented the benefits with the sale to the City of Helsingborg, but neglected to test other possibilities regarding the property and also neglected to test the price offered towards other interests on the open market. This is not in agreement with what can be considered commercial.”
These words are Sven Rosenkvist’s, also member of the parish council, in his reservation towards the decision in the minutes. He has not been able to be reached for comments.
300 new student housings
But now the property transaction is likely to take place. The City Council will in August make a decision about the purchase. At the same time there is a plan to build over 300 new student housings in Helsingborg during the coming year.
“It has lately been hard to make things work in Villan. It has been overcrowded and a lack of study seats. As Villan has become a heritage asset it has become even harder to adjust the property to the needs of the students,” says Peter Danielsson, the City Municipality Chairman.
Villan may become a kindergarten
The ambitions for the Southern District of Helsingborg are not modest. Peter Danielsson wants the district to remind of Södermalm in Stockholm. He has no specific solution on how to make this happen, but some suggestions.
“Through multi-culture, with for instance food and shops from different countries and through student housing, a place for young people to make its mark on the district. It can attract more people who will find their way here and make it more attractive,” he says.
“That is, as the Southern District is today.”
What will now happen with Villan?
“We need to think about what to do as we still will rent the place. One idea is to have it as a preschool. The scenic surroundings are very nice and would fit the purpose very well. But we aren’t sure yet,” says Peter Danielsson.
Text: Sara Wigsén
Translation: Lars Jansson