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.
Planning Reviews: As a result of DfI's intervention and the 13 month delay, the Council's Planning Service had to follow certain additional procedural requirements before formal confirmation of planning approval (commonly known as the 'Green Form') could be issued to Bangor Marine. These were
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.
These meetings were held on Wednesday 20 July and Committee Members voted unanimously to approve the Bangor Marine planning application.
The Council, Bangor Marine and Department for Communities (as planning authority, developer and landowner) then worked together to finalise the legal agreement for the scheme. This was signed and the formal decision notice issued on 29 September 2022.
Work on site: Bangor Marine has communicated publicly that once the formal decision notice (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).