Fire protection: district forbids campers to live at the “hohe ufer

The concern among the residents at the campsite is clearly noticeable on Wednesday afternoon. "Michael, will I have to sleep under a bridge soon??", asks an elderly resident operator Kleinherbers. Their expressions fluctuate between a small smile and worried seriousness. Kleinherbers reassures them and refers to the suspensive effect of the lawsuits that many leaseholders are now filing against the decision.

A 63-year-old woman, who does not wish to be named, has been living on the site in her 48-square-meter wooden house since August. "I wanted to have my peace," is how the severely handicapped person justifies the move: "And now something like this comes along!" She gets only a small pension and has no idea how to look for an apartment from it.

A camper has lived on the site for six years and says: "This is an impertinence. There are no rich people living here. Here are people with many children, some sick, many with Hartz IV, who have built something here to escape the expensive rent."He now also wants to sue.

Operation "suspended for the time being"

The district of Wesel on Thursday (13. January) the immediate prohibition of use for the camping site "high bank" in Schermbeck pronounced. After the urgent oral hearing of the Administrative Court of Dusseldorf on Thursday (27. January), the district saw itself confirmed in its approach, the district said in a statement: "Therefore, on Monday, 31. January 2022, likewise use prohibitions opposite the individual leaseholders pronounced. The enterprise of the camping site is thus for the time being stopped."

"It is our task to avert the immediate dangers for people by issuing appropriate orders," explains Helmut Czichy, board member for construction at the district administration. The Higher Administrative Court had clarified at the beginning of 2021 that the building supervisory authority is authorized and obliged to immediately enforce appropriate measures for the elimination of danger, in particular also against the tenants or lessees, without accepting compromises.

"Because very extensive deconstruction is still required on the more than 150 parcels, the use prohibition had to be issued now."A resumption of the use can take place, so Czichy further, if the dangers for the tenants are stopped. This required that the fire water supply and the basic layout of the entire square, as well as the division and development of the plots, comply with the applicable fire safety and building code requirements.

Serious fire safety deficiencies

Since 2015, Michael Kleinherbers has been the operator of the campground that his parents-in-law built starting in 1964. About 120 people use the site, 80 of whom live there. The trouble had begun with a fire safety inspection on 29. November began, says Kleinherbers. On the part of the municipality Schermbeck according to circle at that time "serious fire protection lacks" were determined.

"The deficiencies found indicate that a fire can spread across the site unimpeded, rapidly and completely in all directions," the district said, adding that during an inspection on 4. January did not see all deficiencies eliminated. Kleinherbers does not want to gloss over the deficiencies. But the circle behaved "like the ax in the forest". Kleinherbers points out that the district had approved some of the wooden houses itself.

The operator was requested at the beginning of December by ordinance orders to eliminate the deficiencies and to produce short-term implementable interim solutions. Among other things it concerned fire protection strips on the ways, thus a widening, or also fire water hoses, which should be put over the area.

"How am I supposed to submit cost estimates there?"

Kleinherbers is willing to implement the demands and has already terminated some tenants. Some of the houses and hedges have already been demolished, but Kleinherbers also says that the abundance of tasks could not have been accomplished in four weeks. Many companies would have made over the Christmas vacations company vacations. "How am I supposed to submit cost estimates?"For example, he did not receive a list of tenants and a map until January 22. January, not as required on 20., submitted and for it fines at a value of 15.000 euros received.

This was the point when Kleinherbers called in his lawyer. In the hearing at the Administrative Court in Dusseldorf, the judge basically agreed with the district, Kleinherbers confirms. But the judge had also acknowledged that the deadlines set by the district had not been met.

"We’re being blindsided"

"The course is 60 years old and we’re being blindsided," Kleinherbers says. By April, the wants to have fixed the shortcomings. The campground is already in "50 percent better condition" than when it was first inspected for fires, he said. He doesn’t understand why the usage ban is being imposed now of all times.

Incensed, some campers have been told about answers district staff would have given them when asked where they should be housed. A woman who lives on the site with her husband and three children says she was "brusquely turned away". A camper says: "We were told as hard as nails: in a home for asylum seekers."

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