Bangor Waterfront

January 2023: An exciting start to the year as it is confirmed that Ards and North Down Borough Council will receive £40million from the Belfast Region City Deal:- read more £40 million Funding Secured for the Redevelopment of Bangor Waterfront | Ards and North Down Borough Council

Ards and North Down Borough Council is progressing ambitious plans to redevelop a 2.2-mile stretch of the seafront over the next 10 years, to help re-establish Bangor as a thriving town and prime visitor attraction in Northern Ireland. 

The Bangor Waterfront Development is just one of a number of exciting tourism-led regeneration schemes that was eligible to receive funding from the Belfast Region City Deal.   Ards and North Down Council has been awarded £40M for the 10-year development via this bespoke package of funding from the UK Government, with the remaining investment coming from a combination of Council investment (approximately £20M) and private sector investment (approximately £12.8M). 

The vision (Bangor Identity Framework document) is to seamlessly connect 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.   

In August 2019 the Council appointed a consultant to lead on the delivery of this project and to deliver on this vision.  Working with the Council, the consultant undertook a significant amount of work to really understand the qualities that make Bangor special and local people’s hopes for the future of the waterfront. Read more here Survey findings pdf. 

Read more about benefits for Bangor and the people who live there at Benefits of Regeneration | Ards and North Down Borough Council 

The Next Steps in this ambitious plan for Bangor can be found at Next Steps | Ards and North Down Borough Council 

Key Projects  

The Bangor Waterfront Scheme – seamlessly connecting our waterfront to our town and creating unique opportunities for residents, visitors and businesses alike. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the Belfast City Region Deal?

The signing of the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) in December 2021 was a key milestone for the Belfast region, securing substantial financial commitment from central government and BRCD partners. The UK Government and NI Executive have each committed £350 million and partners a further £150 million. The Deal represents a new way of working between central and local government and regional partners and secures a bespoke package of investment from central government and the BRCD partners to support the delivery of a shared vision of:

“Inclusive economic growth that delivers more and better jobs, a positive impact on the most deprived communities and a balanced spread of benefits across the region”.

The substantial financial commitment, which will be further supplemented by the private sector, will generate up to 20,000 jobs as it is delivered over the next 10-15 years - an exciting, once-in-a-generation opportunity to accelerate economic growth for the region in an inclusive and sustainable way.

This Deal will strengthen the region’s offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, the digital and creative industries, and advanced manufacturing. It will support next-generation digital capabilities, boost tourism and support the regeneration of our region, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.

The BRCD involves an integrated programme of investment that cuts across the responsibilities of local councils, the Northern Ireland Executive and UK Government. The BRCD partners comprises Belfast City Council, five partner councils (Ards and North Down being one), two universities and four of the region’s further education colleges.

What is a CFF ?

The Contract for Funding (CfF) is an agreement between the UK Government, NI Executive (Department for Communities), Belfast City Council and Ards and North Down Borough Council to fund £40M of the expenditure incurred in the delivery of the Bangor Waterfront Redevelopment. The Contract includes the project particulars, governance arrangements, sets out the funding terms and conditions of the Agreement and provides project delivery guidance over a 10 year programme.

How will this redevelopment benefit Bangor?

The programme will achieve significant outcomes for the city and the wider Borough, including an additional 489 jobs, increasing visitor numbers by 100,000 each year and increasing GVA by £110 million, as well as providing environmental and health and wellbeing benefits.

What is the plan for Bangor Waterfront?

This BRCD funding provides the support needed to realise and deliver on a vision for Bangor worked through by local stakeholders in 2018 – to make Bangor a ‘destination of choice’ to live, work, visit, study and invest in.

With an additional £20 million contribution from Council and circa £12.8 million from private investment over the next decade, this total investment of circa £73 million in a 2-mile stretch of coastline will connect the new city to the sea through a proposed range of sustainable, world-class visitor and leisure attractions and experiences.

There are five key projects that make up the development and procurement will now begin for designers to draw up plans for each of the key areas.

Urban Waterfront Development

Bangor’s coastline and stunning sea views are some of the town’s most significant selling points.  They should be enhanced sympathetically, sustainably, beautifully and in ways that people of all ages can have the opportunity to enjoy them. We recognise that and so propose to make a significant investment in new urban waterfront/public realm features along the waterfront, making the everyday spaces that people move through, and linger within, as attractive as they can be; ‘instagram-able’ to use today’s social media language.

Travelling from Skippingstone in the west to Ballyholme in the east (or vice versa) should be a real voyage of discovery and we intend to use creative signage, pathways and artistic features to encourage more people to enjoy the journey.

Particular attention will be given to: Skippingstone Beach (multi-use pods for beach activities, accessibility features, feature lighting/benches and Ballyholme (watersports opportunities, feature lighting/ surfacing).

Pickie Fun Park

Pickie holds a host of great memories for families from the Bangor area and beyond.  The giant Pickie pedal swans have become an iconic feature on the Waterfront landscape.  With some enhancements and new features we think it can continue to attract and delight families for many more years to come.

We are proposing the development of new all-weather attractions for both children and young adults, and feature landscaping so it better integrates with the new public realm along the coastline.

An extension to the Pickie Puffer (train ride), that will take visitors from Pickie to the Queen’s Parade area is also part of the proposals.

Bangor Marina

Bangor Marina, built in 1989, is one of the largest 5 gold-anchor accredited marina developments on the island of Ireland and is the largest in Northern Ireland, attracting a considerable number of vessels.

Some of its infrastructure is critical to safe and effective operations and cannot be moved, however a level of redesign will enable us to increase the number of seafaring visitors to Bangor and to open up the space, making it easier for people to enjoy the sea views.

Our proposals recommend redeveloping Bregenz House as a mixed-use development in a new cluster with iconic and high-quality architecture.

The redesign will include additional public access with dropped boardwalks, seating and viewing areas and the opportunity for cafés/ restaurants integrated into the Marina.

There is also an opportunity to integrate with the plans for the private sector-led Queen’s Parade development, to create a new marine gardens with formal and informal spaces for events and activities, further supporting the leisure and creative sectors within Bangor.

The Court House

The creativity of its people, from earliest times to present day musicians and producers, is a key part of Bangor’s DNA. The Borough inspires and supports many key influencers within the music industry including Van Morrison, Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club, Foy Vance, Hannah Peel and Lowden Guitars. Ards and North Down is also home to several successful companies involved in TV/film music production.

Independent charity, Open House, has ambitious plans to regenerate Bangor Court House as a permanent home for the Open House Festival and a much-needed multipurpose venue serving the town. Through grants and crowdfunding activity, Open House secured the funds for their Phase 1 plan which is now complete.

Having considered a range of options for a music hub as part of the Waterfront Development, and working with Open House, we are proposing further developing and building on the Open House plans to create a Phase 2. This will see the capacity of the building double in size to include additional event and performance spaces and creative work spaces that will further ensure the sustainability of the venue as a significant music and creative hub for the Borough.

Ballyholme Yacht Club and Watersports Centre

We believe this peninsula affords the opportunity to create a state-of-the-art destination for sports and relaxation; a waterfront park to rival the best in Europe. It is home to Ballyholme Yacht Club (BYC), which has been identified as the preferred location within Northern Ireland for major sailing and watersports 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.

Supporting this and working closely with Ballyholme Yacht Club, we propose to enhance the area as a hub for residents and visitors alike with enhanced facilities and promenades.

Where is the Council’s £20m investment coming from?

The Council’s £20m capital contribution has been built into its 10-year Capital Investment Programme and Medium Term Financial Plan. It is expected, like with all large capital investment schemes undertaken by Council, that the costs will be met by taking out long-term government borrowings. The impact of this on domestic and non-domestic rates bills is spread over many future years (similar to mortgage repayments) and does not fully commence until after the new facilities become operational or available for public use.

What is the timeline for the project?

The Development is a 10-year rolling programme of work and having now received confirmation of funding, the Council will start to work through the following required individual steps before any construction can begin. Due to the standard stages of project delivery as detailed below, it is envisaged that construction will then be undertaken in a phased approach over the next 5-6 years.

  • Procure consultants to develop design proposals 
  • Engage and consult with the public and stakeholders 
  • Secure planning and other statutory approvals  
  • Develop detailed technical designs and specifications for construction 
  • Procure a building contractor  
What is happening to Queen’s Parade?

In addition to the 10-year Bangor waterfront redevelopment project, the Queens Parade area will also be regenerated and redeveloped by private owners Bangor Marine Ltd.

Their vision is to transform Queen’s Parade and create a premier public waterfront space that also embraces Bangor’s rich heritage and paves the way to securing the city’s future. Further details on the Queens Parade scheme and Bangor Marine Ltd can be found at www.queensparadebangor.com or via email at info@queensparadebangor.com

Bangor Regeneration