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All Change in £40m Plan for Bangor Waterfront on Belfast Lough

18th September 2020
All Change in £40m Plan for Bangor Waterfront on Belfast Lough

Bangor on Belfast Lough is hoping to secure through Ards and North Down Borough Council, around £40m from the Belfast City Regional Deal to fund the Bangor Waterfront Development and will submit the Outline Business Case to the Belfast Region City Deal in October. The outcome of the bid will be confirmed by the end of 2020 and if successful, the Council will contribute a further £20M approximately and the private sector about £4M to the project.

The Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) offers a bespoke package of funding from Westminster to help achieve inclusive economic growth across the Belfast region, and the business case will detail concept proposals for five key regeneration projects.

This plan aims to redevelop a two-mile stretch of the seafront to re-establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland by connecting the waterfront to the rest of the town and, in so doing, provide a unique range of opportunities for residents and visitors to have their lives and businesses enriched by a mix of public spaces, creative events, activities, attractions and experiences that speak of local stories to a global audience.

This plan aims to redevelop a two-mile stretch of the seafront to re-establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern IrelandThis plan aims to redevelop a two-mile stretch of the seafront to re-establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland

The projects encompass sections of the coastline. Skippingstone Beach, popular with sea swimmers, at the west end of the area and overlooking the entrance to the Harbour, will benefit from multi-use pods for beach activities, accessibility features, feature lighting/benches; Pickie Family Fun Park will be enhanced with new all-weather attractions for both children and young adults, and an extension to the Pickie Puffer train ride, which will take visitors from Pickie to the Queen's Parade area closer to the town centre. For Bangor Marina, the 530 berth Five Anchor facility right in the town centre, the proposals recommend redeveloping Bregenz House which houses the Coastguard Station and Marina office and facilities with, on the upper floors, bars, restaurants, an artisan corner and roof garden and a public deck offering views across the marina. Better public access around this building was a clear ask when the public surveys and stakeholder workshops on the development on Bangor Waterfront were undertaken.

 In a comment about this particular part of the proposals, a spokesperson for the Council said "We have recognised this in the Outline Business Case (OBC) proposals but would stress that there are a number of steps to work through and matters to be considered before we can confirm whether Bregenz House will be redeveloped or not - most significant being approval of the OBC and provision of funding support from the Belfast Region City Deal. It is our hope that any redeveloped facility will include a range of users - new and existing, including the Coastguard. Initial discussions with the Coastguard indicate that they are keen to be part of the Bangor Waterfront Development plans and we will be engaging with them further as we move this exciting project forward".

Proposed changes to the Bangor coastlineThe Bangor town coastline

The regenerated Bangor Court House opposite the Harbour is earmarked for the Music Hub, a permanent home for the Open House Festival and a much-needed multi-purpose venue serving the town.

Moving east Kingsland, which began life as an amusement park in the early 20th century, is another green area between Bangor town and the suburb of Ballyholme currently with tennis courts, pitch and put and a dog park – here it is aimed to have café kiosks, a skate park and accommodation;

Nearby is Ballyholme Yacht Club which has been identified as the preferred location in Northern Ireland for major sailing and water sports events by the Royal Yachting Association. The redevelopment of BYC would provide Bangor with a world-class facility for water sports and the ability to host international events.

Welcoming the plans, Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Trevor Cummings said: "Bangor has great potential. We need to build on its strengths, particularly its leisure and cultural assets, high-quality environment, and accessibility, to deliver sustainable regeneration. I would stress that these are proposals, rather than confirmed final plans".

Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design is part of the design team working on the Waterfront Development. He is co-founder of the fashion house Red or Dead and on the Design Council Chartered Association of Building Engineers (CABE) Committee. He commented " I was struck immediately on coming to Bangor by the beauty of the coastline and the potential in the town.
In designing the Waterfront Development, our research indicated that a series of attractions would offer more sustainable and inclusive benefits for Bangor than a single iconic attraction - particularly for those who live and work in the town".

Kevin Baird, Harbour and Marina Manager are enthusiastic." We are delighted with these concept proposals; they will ensure that the Bangor Waterfront will become a prime attraction for residents and visitors to Northern Ireland. Our vision of allowing safe access to the water for everyone is becoming a reality".

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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