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, 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.