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‘Useless and defective’: Brussels may get rid of giant screen on Place Flagey

Flagey, Ixelles
16:45 02/08/2022

A giant screen located at Place Flagey in the Brussels neighbourhood of Ixelles could be removed next year if municipal authorities decide not to renew its planning permission.

The operator – the Belgian Posters company – has permission to keep the sign up until October 2023, reports RTBF. 

“The days when large advertising screens were installed in public spaces are over,” said Yves Rouyet (Ecolo), the local councillor for urban planning, who wrote a letter advocating for the screen’s removal. 

The giant 10 m² digital screen was installed on the corner of Rue Malibran in 2008, a few weeks after the inauguration of the entire square following major renovation. 

It was intended broadcasting football matches and open-air films in an attempt to lure local residents to the square for large gatherings, in a similar style to Times Square in New York and Piccadilly Circus in London.

But the screen was never used for such events as it was deemed too difficult for police to ensure public safety for large crowds. Flagey also has many cafes that successfully broadcast football matches for fans.

The screen wound up being used for general information messages; official announcements on one side and advertisements on the other until it broke down completely in 2017. 

“The choice today is this: to keep an energy-guzzling panel or to plant a beautiful tree? The choice is quickly made,” said Rouyet.

“We dream of something else for Place Flagey. For us, it’s more appealing to green the square.”

Rouyet has written a letter on behalf of Ixelles to minister of public works Elke Van den Brandt (Groen), suggesting that the screen be removed.

The timing seems providential: a few months ago, the region announced a massive green project for the square.

“Our request comes well in advance, one year before the end of the deadline, so no one is herded into a corner – neither the operator of the screen nor Brussels Mobility,” said Rouyet.

 

 

Written by Helen Lyons