Belfast Telegraph

Council faces wait to hear public's opinion on £8m plans for Bangor town centre

By Dave Whelan

Councillors on North Down Borough council will not hear feedback from the public consultation on the £8m public realm work for Bangor town centre for at least another month, despite the scheme ending two weeks ago.

Some councillors believed that they would be briefed on public feedback at Tuesday night's meeting (September 24) but it is now understood that the report will not be going to the Council's Corporate Committee until October 8.

Feedback on the scheme is still being collated by the Council's development Services Team who report to the Corporate and Development Committee, meaning that it will be at least another month before councillors have access to the outcome.

The public had been asked to give their feedback for the multi-million pound investment for the Bangor and Holywood areas over a three week consultation period.

Original plans suggested by the development team and open for feedback included new natural stone paving to footpaths, street furniture, street lighting, tree and shrub planting and public art as well as restoring Hamilton Road to two way traffic.

Many residents reportedly used the consultation to complain about the delays over the redevelopment of Queen's Parade, which is a completely separate issue.

This week an alternative version of the public realm scheme created by local architect Iain Halliday came into circulation.

Mr Halliday's vision for the town includes pedestrianising Main Street from the Hamilton Road junction to the seafront, shop redesign, re-positioning Bangor market and increasing parking facilities across the town centre and at the former site of Bangor Castle Leisure Centre.

Commenters on the For A Better Bangor Facebook page largely welcoming of the alternative plans with Hilary Ruth Simpson commenting: "So much better than the council plans and seems to have the spirit of Bangor at it's heart." While Jenny kirkwood said: "Just love the fact that someone has taken the trouble to come up with an alternative, and give constructive criticism of the council's plan."

Meanwhile there are fears that pressure group resistance to long term Department of Regional Development plans to redevelop Queen's Parade could lead to a full public enquiry, meaning that construction would be vastly delayed.

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