A MASTERPLAN for the regeneration of Holywood town centre is to be created.
Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, has announced his approval for the development of a masterplan which will identify how regeneration opportunities within the town can be realised over the next 15 years.
The masterplan will present a framework within which detailed proposals can be developed for a mix of business, tourism, leisure, public space and housing.
Mr McCausland revealed the plans during Holywood Residents Association's Annual General Meeting.
He said: "I am delighted to announce approval for a masterplan for Holywood town centre.
"This assignment will help to identify how the area should be developed over the next 15 to 20 years."
Mr McCausland revealed the masterplan will commence in September and encouraged all those with an interest in the future development of the town centre to work in partnership with DSD and North Down Borough Council.
"The plan should fully exploit Holywood's potential so the town continues to attract new visitors and businesses whilst at the same time protecting the area's unique character," the minister said.
Mayor of North Down Wesley Irvine said North Down Borough Council welcomes this "vote of confidence" in the future of Holywood.
"We recognise these are challenging economic times but are committed to the regeneration of our town centres," he added.
"We have a masterplan in place for Bangor and have already seen the completion of its first major project - the redevelopment of Pickie Fun Park.
"We look forward to working with DSD to develop a similar framework for regeneration in Holywood."
North Down Alliance Councillor Andrew Muir said: "Work will shortly commence on devising a Masterplan for Holywood with the Department for Social Development and North Down Borough Council soon to start seeking the views of local people concerning future vision for Holywood Town Centre.
"This will then help influence a programme of works to take place from 2013 onwards such as pavement improvements, signage etc. to regenerate Holywood and create an even more attractive Town Centre.
"I urge all local businesses, people and community groups to engage with the Masterplan consultation when it commences," the councillor added.