Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Residents win extension to debate town’s masterplan

A local community group secured an extension to the consultation period set on the Bangor town centre masterplan proposal after some residents raised concerns that the plan in parts “was too vague to render an informed community response”.

Though the official consultation period ended last Friday (January 14), the Harbour Ward Community Association (HWCA) was granted a few days extra leeway to return the responses from a public meeting it hosted at the Marine Court Hotel last night (Tuesday January 18) — in their bid to help residents clarify certain sections of the plans. DSD representative Damian Mulholland was invited.

Green Party leader Steven Agnew said: “We in the Harbour Ward Community Association felt that the public consultation that had taken place to date had not adequately explained to residents the nature of these plans and how they will be taken forward. If people are not informed they cannot give an informed response.

“We are holding this meeting so that the plans can be fully explained and residents can have their questions answered. The town centre masterplan will affect everyone in Bangor. At this point in time the plans are at a very early stage and are quite vague. There is a real opportunity to ensure that the final vision is one that reflects what the people of Bangor want to see for their town centre for the next 20 years.”

Items on the agenda included; traffic management, parking, impact on town centre residents, the role of the council and the process by which the masterplan could be progressed.

Mr Agnew added: “The town centre masterplan is very much open to debate. The plans have been on view in the local library and a questionnaire was there for people to pick up and fill out. A lot of people, though, were confused by some of the things marked on the plans, a cycle path drawn through the Flagship centre for one thing, and so our community association, along with other local community groups, thought it would be good idea to hold this meeting with a DSD representative to go through it in more detail and to help answer those queries so we can give an informed response.

“One of the things I feel strongly about is what provisions will be made for young people in the town centre — at the moment they are moved on from pillar to post.

“This is a unique chance to shape the town before any development takes place, for local people to decide the town centre they want.”

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