BANGOR’S regeneration efforts won the support of Northern Ireland Office minister Steve Baker last week.

The Minister of State for Northern Ireland hit the city centre last Thursday afternoon, touring the waterfront to learn about upcoming projects such as the £50m revamp of Queen’s Parade – now just months away from starting construction.

Given a guided tour by Ards and North Down Mayor Jennifer Gilmour, as well as council chief executive Stephen Reid, the Tory MP was told that almost £10m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund will be used to build the initial part of the scheme.

Aran Blackbourne, of developers Bangor Marine, outlined plans for the site, including new homes, a hotel, retail space, offices, eateries and new public squares and courtyards.

The Minister then headed to the Court House, recently transformed from a derelict building into a new arts and culture venue by Open House.

There council officials detailed their £60m plans to redevelop a two-mile stretch of Bangor’s coastline from Skippingstone Beach to Ballyholme, which is to be funded by the Belfast City Region Deal.

Said the Mayor: “This is a very significant time for Bangor, with the Queen’s Parade and Bangor Waterfront redevelopments offering the promise of over £110m of investment into the area over the next 10 years.

“Both projects will deliver economic growth but also social and community benefits, as well as helping to put Bangor firmly back on the map.   

“While we look forward to Bangor Marine starting work later in the year on Queen’s Parade, we recognise that both are complex and long-term projects, and we very much appreciate Minister Baker’s time to hear more about the plans, opportunities and challenges ahead.

“His support for the regeneration of Bangor was fulsome and much appreciated by all partners involved.”

Mr Blackbourne said that he appreciated being able to thank Mr Baker for the government’s financial support to date, as well as discussing ways the Northern Ireland Office could further help in delivering both the Queen’s Parade and Waterfront projects.

“Combined they offer a unique, once in a generation opportunity to regenerate the new city and wider area as we continue to work hard to get everything in place to get work underway,” he added.

Gerard Murray, regional development director at Stormont’s Department for Communities, commented that his body is ‘pleased to be working in close collaboration with partners in central and local government’ over the two Bangor regeneration projects.

“These strategic projects will deliver a wide range of social and economic benefits, transforming the city into a more attractive place to live, work, visit and invest,” he said.