Queen's Parade

Investment in the Queen’s Parade area of Bangor town centre is critical to local regeneration.  This site is identified as a key opportunity in the Department for Infrastructure’s Regional Development Strategy and central government has spent £9M acquiring the site.

The Department for Communities is leading on the redevelopment of the Queen’s Parade area of Bangor.  An extensive summary of the site and recent key milestones, along with an outline of the current redevelopment proposals, is provided on its website: Regeneration of Queens Parade, Bangor

Visit Bangor Marine's dedicated Queen's Parade website Home - Bangor Marine (queensparadebangor.com) and sign up for the Newsletter to receive news and updates.

Background and current position

In May 2019, the Department for Communities and the Council signed a Development Agreement for the site with Bangor Marine Ltd (a joint venture between Farrans and the Karl Group).  The developer then submitted a planning application in January 2020 that was approved by Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Planning Committee in January 2021.

Notification of DfI Planning: Because a statutory consultee had objected to the application (DfI Rivers) legislation required the Council to notify DfI Planning of its intention and prevents a decision from issuing within 28 days.  In February 2021 the Council was notified by DfI Planning that it could not grant planning approval until further advised – as the Department was considering whether the proposed development raised issues of such importance that it could be considered to have a significant regional impact (in respect of setting aside the policy to which DfI Rivers has referred in its objection), and whether it was more appropriate for the Department to ‘call-in’ the application and make the determination itself. 

Year of delay: One year on from delaying the Council in issuing its agreed planning approval, DfI Planning had made no further determination on the scheme.  The impact of this delay on the proposed regeneration of Bangor was extremently concerning to residents and businesses.  The Council and the Developer called upon interested groups to write to the Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, asking her to support the Council’s decision to approve this planning application.  Following a successful campaign, the Minister advised on 9 March 2022 that her Department would not be 'calling in' the Queen's Parade planning application and that the Council could proceed to grant planning permission to Bangor Marine for the crucial town centre regeneration project.

Councillor Mark Brooks, Mayor of Ards and North Down said: "I am absolutely delighted that Minister Mallon has ended this long-running impasse.  Finally we have the green light for the Queen’s Parade development to proceed.  I would like to thank all the residents and businesses that have taken time over recent weeks to write to the Minister to lobby for this decision – community action has paid fantastic dividends.  The Queen’s Parade development, combined with the Council’s own plans to regenerate Bangor Waterfront, offers the potential for more than £110m of investment to come into the town over the next ten years, delivering new attractions, accommodations and commercial opportunities.  There is every reason to look forward with hope and excitement.”     

Next steps:  As a result of DfI's intervention and the 13 month delay, the Council's Planning Service must follow certain additional procedural requirements before formal confirmation of planning approval (commonly known as the 'Green Form') can be issued to Bangor Marine.  These are:    

1) conduct a pre-determination hearing to update the Planning Committee on the DfI's decision not to 'call in' the planning application

2) hold a Planning Committee to determine the planning application cognisant of what has occurred since the original resolution to approve in January 2021.

Given the time that has passed between the notification of DfI and response of DfI (13 months) to say it will not be calling in the planning application, Bangor Marine has indicated to the Council's Planning Service that it would like some time to consider matters prior to moving forward to the pre-determination hearing and the Planning Committee meeting.  The Planning Service is content to permit Bangor Marine some time and is awaiting a further update from the company.  

In the meantime the Council's Planning Service is progressing what matters it can, including planning conditions for the approval.   

Details of the pre-determination hearing and Planning Committee meeting will not publicised as soon as they are available.

Work on site: Bangor Marine has communicated publicly that once the Green Form is issued, the company will progress through a process of detailed design and securing contracts/ materials with the aim of being on site within 12 months.  

 

FAQs and Video

Below are some FAQs about the development - these are updated regularly.  

There is also a video in which Aran Blackbourne from Bangor Marina and Susie McCullough from the Council talk about some of the issues behind the year long delay on granting planning and the process we were working through with the Department for Infrastructure (but please note this situation is now resolved)

Frequently asked questions

What is the current status of the Queen’s Parade Development?

Bangor Marine (the developer) submitted a planning application for the Queen’s Parade site in January 2020.

As part of assessing any planning application the Council’s Planning Service normally carries out a range of consultations with various government bodies, such as Roads, Rivers, NI Water, NI Environment Agency. In this case DfI (Department for Infrastructure) Rivers objected to the proposal due to concerns about flooding from a nearby reservoir (for more detail see below).

When assessing the proposal, the Council’s Planning Service weighed these potential risks of flooding against the economic, social and environmental benefits the investment offered to Bangor and determined that the benefits outweighed the potential risk.

Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Planning Committee agreed with the officers’ recommendation and approved Bangor Marine’s planning application on 26 January 2021.

As the Council was proposing to grant planning permission for this major development contrary to a significant objection by DfI Rivers, a statutory consultee, the Council was legally required to notify DfI Planning and not issue its decision for a period of 28 days. The Council notified the Department on 27 January 2021.

In February 2021 the Council was instructed by DfI Planning not to grant planning approval until further advised by the Department in order to allow it time to consider whether or not the proposed development raised issues that required it to be referred to the Department for determination. Those issues were in relation to the policy non-compliance (flooding) that the Department considered may have a regionally significant impact.

Since that time the Council and Bangor Marine have been engaging with DfI Rivers and DfI Planning to try to find a solution to this impasse and have given the Department all information possible to assess the issues it has identified.

The Minister for Infrastructure, Nichola Mallon, advised on 9 March 2022 that her Department would not be ‘calling in’ the Queen’s Parade planning application and that the Council could proceed to grant planning permission to Bangor Marine for the crucial town centre regeneration project.

What is the current proposal? 

A £50m private investment that will deliver:

  • A 67-bed hotel with spa/ swimming pool
  • 138 new homes (37 x 1 beds/ 98 x 2 beds/ 3 x 3 beds)
  • Over 6000m2 of office space
  • 1,858m2 of food and beverage/ retail opportunities
  • A destination/ cinema building
  • 1,208m2 indoor activity space
  • 255 space car park
  • Marine Gardens public realm and open space
What is the difference between Queen’s Parade and the Bangor Waterfront project?

These are two different but complimentary investment schemes for Bangor.

Queen’s Parade is a £50M investment in a mixed-use development by Bangor Marine – a joint venture between Farrans and Karl Group. It will regenerate the Queen’s Parade area of the town centre.

Bangor Waterfront is the redevelopment of a 2 mile stretch of coastline from Skippingstone beach to Ballyholme. It is being led by the Council and is due to receive circa £40M of funding from Belfast Region City Deal. The remaining investment will come from Council (£20M) and the private sector (£12M). Read more at Bangor Waterfront | Ards and North Down Borough Council

Combined, these schemes will deliver £122M into the town and allow it to embark on its most ambitious regeneration journey for decades.

Bangor Regeneration