The settlement of a new furniture store of the Krieger Group in Kiel has been a political issue for years. An allotment garden was sacrificed for the project – then, despite promised jobs, nothing happened for a long time, only to make headlines again by destroying valuable nature reserves. A referendum against the project failed in 2014 with a narrow majority.
There is great excitement in the state capital of Schleswig-Holstein. The public prosecutor’s office will check whether it will initiate criminal proceedings; the city of Kiel wants to impose a fine of up to 50,000 euros for violating the species protection law. As early as November, construction machinery was used for soil clearing measures on an area the size of which is roughly the size of eight sports fields. A cautious approach had been agreed in a preliminary meeting, but instead extensive areas were torn out, cut down or leveled.
There was no control by the city, the ecological damage is immense. The public only now became aware of this through a report in the NDR. Those responsible at the Kiel Environmental Agency are therefore accused of wanting to keep the outrage under the covers. From Krieger it is said that it was a regrettable oversight. An excavator driver was “on the move” and removed the greenery. However, eyewitnesses report several heavy construction machines that had ravaged here.
From the point of view of the Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) in Kiel, however, the process is more than a triviality. The habitats of the crested newt and around five dozen wood breeders have been destroyed. Furthermore, the Nabu speaks of a killing offense on bats in winter quarters. The company is remorseful and wants to pay the costs for an appraiser who is now supposed to carry out a damage inventory.
The opponents of the construction project see their stance confirmed. And there is obviously a change of heart among the Kiel Greens. In the referendum, you had advertised for the settlement, but this is now a mistake for district chairwoman Anna Langsch.
The Krieger Group initially wanted to create a Möbel-Kraft location in Kiel in the immediate vicinity of the autobahn, and advertised the creation of up to 300 permanent jobs subject to social insurance. After the referendum was won and 340 parcels of allotment gardens were removed, nothing happened for two years. Krieger excused himself with alleged legal exams. Then the city ultimately demanded the opening of the furniture store by the end of 2021, otherwise the land acquisition would be obsolete.
In 2017, a group of trailers called »Schlagloch« settled on the site to draw attention to the lack of cheap living space in Kiel. The action was ended with repressive means. Krieger, in turn, returned in October 2018 with the building permit and slightly revised plans: A branch of Höffner and the affiliated discounter Sconto was announced. Since Krieger had already canceled projects in Duisburg and Düsseldorf, doubts also grew in the far north. However, the first development work took place in 2019, followed by a tentative start in spring 2020.
The planned furniture store area should be surrounded on three sides by a green belt – as compensation and compensation for the allotment gardens that have been eliminated. At least one excavator was raging in this area.
Svenja Bierwirth, environmental policy spokeswoman for the Left in Kiel, looks back on 2017. Regarding the »pothole« occupiers, she says: »If the activists had been tolerated there, in the three and a half years that have passed since then, can hardly cause as much damage as the Höffner bulldozers now in a few days. ”