Council successful in securing ‘levelling up’ funding for two local greenway projects
Ards and North Down Borough Council has been successful in securing money from the Westminster Government’s Levelling Up Fund towards the development of two sections of greenway routes in the Borough – Comber to Newtownards and Newtownards to Green Road in Bangor.
The Council has secured a grant of £3.216m, being 45% of the total cost of the two planned greenway routes and the full amount in its application. Capital funding for greenways in Northern Ireland is supported by the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) and the Council is seeking a further 50% of the costs from the Department. With this success in securing the levelling up bid, Council’s direct funding contribution will be reduced to just 5% of the total costs of the greenway investment.
Welcoming the news, the Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Mark Brooks, said:
“This is excellent news for the Borough. Securing this funding is a very significant milestone on our journey towards enhancing the green infrastructure in Ards and North Down. The development of these two greenways will make a huge difference to our daily lives by providing the opportunity to enjoy safe and easy access to fresh air and exercise, encouraging more journeys by foot or bicycle and providing a vital leisure facility for residents and visitors alike.
“I am delighted with this result, which had the full backing of our local MPs, Dr Stephen Farry and Mr Jim Shannon. I want to thank everyone involved in preparing and submitting the bid for their hard work and valuable contribution. Council will continue to collaborate with DfI who will provide the urban connector routes to link the Council’s greenways into the town centres of Bangor and Newtownards in the hope that the full economic, environmental and social wellbeing benefits of the network will be realised soon.”
The two greenway routes to be funded are at an advanced stage of planning:
Comber to Newtownards: This extension of the existing Comber Greenway will run from Belfast Road, Comber, to Portaferry Road in Newtownards, a distance of approximately 10km. The major planning application for the scheme was submitted to the Planning Service in March 2019. Determination of the planning application is anticipated before the end of 2021. In July 2021, Council submitted its ‘Outline Business Case’ to the Department for Infrastructure to help support its planning for capital funding for greenways across Northern Ireland.
Newtownards to Green Road, Bangor: This route will be progressed in two stages 1) Newtownards to the Somme Museum and 2) the Somme Museum to Green Road, Bangor – a combined distance of 5.4km. The planning application for part one of the route was submitted in October 2020 and it is anticipated that a determination on the plan will be made before the end of 2021. The planning application for stage 2 was submitted in July 2021. Determination of this planning application is anticipated in Spring 2022. As with the Comber to Newtownards route, Council submitted its ‘Outline Business Case’ to the Department for Infrastructure to help support its planning for capital funding for greenways across Northern Ireland.
More information about both routes is available from our Greenways page.
Successful bids in the first round of the Levelling Up Fund were announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the 2021 Spending Review. The Fund is managed by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The list of successful bids includes 76 in England, 11 in Northern Ireland, 10 in Wales and 8 in Scotland (105 total) with a total value of £1.7bn.