Areas of Townscape Character

Areas of Townscape Character
Supplementary Planning Guidance

Over the months of November and December 2016, a number of public engagement workshops were held by the Council’s appointed consultants throughout the Borough.  The aim of these was to stimulate debate and discussion regarding what residents and other interested parties like about their particular designated areas and which kinds of design approaches work well versus those that are less successful. 

Information gathered via responses to the online questionnaire for the engagement exercise, along with comments submitted at the workshops and by email will be considered by the consultants in drafting the design guides for each of the 17 ATCs and AVCs. 

A public consultation exercise will occur alongside the publication of the draft design guide.  This page shall be updated and notification placed in the press (Newtownards Chronicle and Bangor Spectator) at the appropriate stage.

If you have any queries regarding the Area of Townscape exercise, please contact the Planning Service, quoting ATC SPG, as follows:

Planning Service
2 Church Street
T: 0300 013 3333


Many areas within our towns exhibit a distinct character, based on their historic built form or layout.  In some places the variety, or consistency of the overall character is particularly distinctive, and merits protection from inappropriate change.  These areas have been designated as Areas of Townscape Character (ATCs)/ Areas of Village Character (AVCs.)

The Council has commissioned consultants to carry out work to provide a character appraisal of each ATC/AVC in the borough. The intention will be to set out clearly what constitutes the intrinsic character of each area and to prepare guidance on what is appropriate to generate a sympathetic and high quality design response that respects each setting in relation to new development.

The following towns and villages have designated ATCs/AVC, and the boundary maps are available on the NI Planning Portal ( under either the Ards and Down Area Plan section or the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan section as detailed below:

Ards and Down Area Plan
Newtownards (Court Street/Court Square), Comber (The Square and The Mill Village), Donaghadee (Warren Road), Greyabbey and Kircubbin

Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan
Bangor (Bangor East, Bangor West and Bangor Central), Holywood (Holywood North, Holywood South, Holywood/Bangor Road, Kinnegar and Marino, Cultra, Craigavad), Crawfordsburn, Helen’s Bay and Groomsport.