Picardie La Gazette: Can you introduce your city?
Christine Winter: Doullens is a town of 6,000 inhabitants, a number that has fallen by 500 people in the last ten years and is stagnating. I specifically explain this decline by the closure of a number of public services, such as the air base.
We are at the bottom of the valley, due to wetlands regulations the land has become undeveloped, but some families do not want to rebuild their houses but build pavilions.
The revision of the inter-municipal PLU is underway. Our municipal map will be published in early 2023, which will allow us to offer some land. As part of the Small Cities of Tomorrow, we want to establish a programmed housing action: 11% of apartments are empty, which is a significant figure; hopefully some of it will be put back on the market for sale or rental.
Doullens remains an attractive town, what are its main assets?
Doullens has the distinction of having a large public school center and another large private school center, run by Montalembert College and High School, representing approximately 2,500 students.
We understand that Doullens plays its role well as a central place, parents are educated on site, this is undoubtedly one of the keys to the dynamics of our commercial, craft and business structure rich in 205 establishments.
We have three great companies, namely Acia, Saica Pack and Nutribio. As far as trades are concerned, it is tight in the electricity and water supply sectors. Residents are very attached to their local businesses. Some cells are free, but the owners do not want to rent or sell them. We are appealing to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Amiens-Picardie and the Chamber of Crafts to support them.
There are also five supermarkets in the city, one of which returned to the city center a few years ago, on the site of the station, making it impossible for consumers to escape. With the next expansion, the Darty store also opens its doors.
We also use the label “Ville Fleurie 3 étoiles”, a great recognition for the work of our municipal teams. This also adds to the attractiveness, as does our market on Thursday mornings. This year, our Saint-Martin fair, which takes place the weekend after November 11, will be organized over three days: Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and the animals will be back again.
And what about the medical offer?
The offer is also important and will be more and more crowded: we have a hospital that employs 510 people with doctors on a fixed-term basis. It is equipped with a scanner and we hope to benefit from an MRI soon, we are waiting for a response from the Regional Health Agency. Eight dialysis beds will soon be installed, essential equipment to prevent the population from going to Arras or Amiens.
The nursing home is being renovated. We have a health center, but we lack a dentist and an ophthalmologist. The situation is tense at the level of general practitioners, by placing them in Doullens, they especially profit from the installation bonus of 50,000 euros, from the ARS.
What other equipment do you have?
We have a 100-seat cinema, a conservatory with inter-municipal influence, a library, a 450-seat performance hall, a tourist office, a co-working space with three meeting rooms in the well-attended former sub-prefecture,
A city swimming pool will be opened on the sports grounds in October, and a synthetic football field will be delivered in November – an investment of one million euros. We have a large rock for climbing, shooting ranges, two gyms, a dojo, our big disadvantage is the lack of a station and train connection for a city like ours. Unfortunately, it closed about forty years ago…
Doullens is home to a wonderful heritage…
Indeed, we have some gems. Large projects surround the citadel, which belongs to the County Council. There used to be a pedestrian path from the city center to the citadel, but the royal bridge is no longer there, it will be restored, which will connect the citadel again and organize cultural and musical events…
By road, access is dangerous, a roundabout will soon be built. We are satisfied because the citadel is increasingly visited, which brings new guests to the restaurants and hotel.
In our town hall on the first floor there is a unique command room, it is where the French and British representatives at the meeting on March 26, 1918 entrusted the command of the Allied forces to General Foch. We want to make it an essential station in the circle of memories.
Our city center has typical architecture with brick and stone facades, some of which date back to the 18th century.e century. Our bell tower from 1613 is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. There are also the remains of the Saint-Pierre church from the 13th century.e century, the Notre-Dame church from the same period and the tomb from 1583 are classified as historical monuments. The Lombart Museum is labeled as the Museum of France. Until the end of December, we offer an exhibition of street art in the former Marc-Revaux swimming pool located in the city center, the so-called Transition: swimming pool, we hope to attract a new audience. Then the swimming pool will be demolished, instead it should be a service home for the elderly.
The municipality has made great progress in the Little places tomorrow program, could you elaborate?
Since the beginning of the year, we have had a project manager, 50% hired by the municipality, and 50% by the community of municipalities. The small cities of tomorrow are a good device that allows you to benefit from diagnosis, financial assistance, to be assisted at the engineering level.
Although the city center is dynamic, we have lost businesses, we need the small places of tomorrow. The first project is Micro-folie, a digital museum that will be inaugurated in the Lombart museum next November, for the population and schools it is a great opportunity to access the works of national museums. The services of A Maison France will be temporarily installed in October in the premises of the Community of Municipalities. Maison sport santé, which will accompany people over 50 with pathologies almost free of charge, will see the light of day in September in the conservatory, also temporarily: by the end of 2023, a new building will be opened behind the town hall to house these two services, as well as the future one-stop-shop for housing. The town hall remains a landmark for the population.
We also have an urban development program, there are too many cars in the city center, it needs to be greened. Place Eugène-Andrieu will be partially turned into a pedestrian zone so that restaurants can set up real terraces, the direction of traffic will be reconsidered. Place Thélu, the parking will be arranged differently, the boulevard Maréchal-Haïg, which leads to the citadel, too large, will be redesigned. Between the Lavarenne district and the Rouval industrial zone, an island of freshness will be created on the former Carabins poplar plantation.
Doullens is home to several wastelands, what will become of them?
We actually have four wastelands: two industrial, one from Montalembert High School and one from Monoprix in the city center. The municipality is interested in taking over the Montalembert wasteland, which extends to 12,500 m², and developing it in partnership with the Institution for Public Land.
The project is part of the overall opening of the citadel. We would like to make it a place for group accommodation, to create unusual accommodation. Buildings can have an artistic, cultural or tourist purpose.
As for Monoprix, Epsoms Georges-Couthon would consider opening a concierge and retail space for local products on the ground floor, and on the first floor to offer inclusive housing.