Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

D-day for ‘overdue’ Bangor Master Plan

Today Department of Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland will unveil a long term plan for Bangor that will include proposals for waterside developments, boulevards and a civic plaza.

However, the plan is dependent on £2.5m funding a North Down MLA says that will put a question mark over the blueprints of the project.

Green MLA Steven Agnew asked questions about the Minister’s intentions in the Assembly last week.

He says these questions raise doubts over the future development of the Bangor Master Plan as the Social Development Minister admitted that no money had been set aside or ring-fenced for the development.

Mr McCausland said that the way government finances work means that it is not possible to ‘ring fence’ or allocate specific pots of money to individual towns therefore town Master Plans will be assessed on a project-by-project basis.

Mr Agnew said: “I am concerned that the Minister has said that he cannot provide guarantees that funding will be made available. Does this mean there is no guarantee that the Bangor Master Plan will go ahead head now? If so, the Minister is presenting the people of Bangor with an empty promise.

“I also questioned the Minister on whether there had been sufficient consultation on the Master Plan with local young people to ensure that there is proper space and consideration given to all members of society in Bangor.

“Mr McCausland agreed that a Master Plan should be responsive to the needs of all sections of the community if Bangor was to develop in a vibrant way.

“He has assured me that he will respond in writing to my enquiry regarding the inclusion of Bangor’s young people in the future development of the town,” he added.

Steven Dunlop, of the Bangor and Holywood Town Centre Management, said the Master Plan was long overdue for the town and that he was looking forward to seeing the regeneration of Bangor’s seafront.

He said: “We have been a part of the working group in bring studies together and we are committed to this visionary statement for Bangor. The DSD have the main regeneration remit and they cannot ignore their own studies — we will look to see the Master Plan through to its conclusion.

“This is an agenda for change and has the full support of the DSD.”

He said the private sector could also be mobilised to get involved in the regeneration project if public funds are diminished.

The DSD minister will launch the Master Plan at Bangor’s Marine Court Hotel today (Wednesday, June 6) at lunchtime.

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