Planning approval for £50m landmark seaside regeneration project

The £50 million regeneration of Queen’s Parade, a 13 acre (5.26 hectares) waterfront site in Bangor, near Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been granted planning permission by Ards and North Down Council. The scheme, designed by TODD Architects for Bangor Marine Ltd, will see Bangor’s Marine Gardens returned to its heyday of Victorian seaside elegance whilst creating a vibrant mixed-use development of residential, hotel, office, retail and cultural and recreation floorspace in the heart of the town centre.

Nigel Murray, Associate at TODD Architects, says,

“We are delighted to see this project being taken forward; it represents a tremendous boost for the whole region and a massive vote of confidence in Ards and North Down and its future economy.”

“At a time when our already strained high streets and town centres are being fundamentally impacted by lockdown restrictions as a result of the pandemic, this project provides a template for future town centre renewal and recovery. Bringing new homes, office space and a hotel into the town centre will improve the town centre’s viability by creating a critical mass of people in one place that can sustain the town’s other uses more effectively, creating employment, attracting visitors and stimulating further investment for the town and the local area.”

The Queen’s Parade project, led by Developer Bangor Marine Ltd, is being developed in conjunction with the Department for Communities and Ards and North Down Council. The project will create a premier year-round waterfront destination for Bangor and for Northern Ireland and is seen as critical to the future of the town and maximising the economic growth potential of the wider borough of Ards and North Down. It forms part of a combined investment of £110 million in Bangor over the next 10 years that is set to generate new jobs, shops, offices, homes and tourist attractions.

A prime objective has been to re-stitch the town back together, with TODD Architects’ design for Queen’s Parade placing great emphasis on maintaining and creating connectivity by unlocking and activating underutilised brownfield areas and back lands, providing instead a series of vibrant, active public streets, plazas and private courtyards, which are in turn served and activated by the proposed new buildings. The proposed new areas of public realm are all interconnected, providing both individual focal points with distinct characters, and an overall lattice which knits together the somewhat disparate elements of Bangor’s existing town centre in an entirely more coherent and accessible manner.

The scheme seeks to reconnect people to both the town and the sea, with one of the key elements being the creation of an elevated Market Square looking over the Marina and to Belfast Lough beyond, offering the town a different relationship to the water and creating a distinctive character of space to the seafront Marine Gardens.

The waterfront will be re-activated by creating all year-round places and spaces to enjoy the water. A lively and inclusive public realm, elegant contemporary promenade and flexible outdoor event space are complemented by the residential and hotel elements which are key to providing 24/7 footfall.

Bangor Marine Limited is a joint venture partnership between NI property development company Karl Group and leading NI contractor Farrans, created specially to deliver the project. TODD Architects is the architect lead within a multidisciplinary team that includes TURLEY, Park Hood, Atkins, RPS, Dorans together with Wayne Hemingway as a brand and vision consultant.