CONSTRUCTION on the £50m revamp of Queen’s Parade has been put back by several months.
In the latest hitch in the saga of the long-delayed overhaul of Bangor’s seafront, workmen now won’t be on site until early in 2024.
Developers Bangor Marine are keen to emphasise that this is just a bump in the road, rather than any serious problems with the project.
The developers have to meet many planning preconditions before they can get underway, which involves sending a large number of site surveys to a variety of government bodies.
Those bodies then have to analyse and report on those surveys before the preconditions can be met, and the developers say that process is taking longer than they expected.
Bangor Marine had initially hoped to begin building the initial phase of the project in late summer or early autumn, but has been forced to put their start date back by months.
They’re also currently putting the final touches to the arrangements needed to actually get hold of almost £10m they were awarded from the UK government’s Levelling Up Fund earlier this year.
According to Aran Blackbourne from Bangor Marine, the past few months have seen the developers slightly rework the design of the initial phase to add a new play area to the Marine Gardens part of the project.
“We believe these changes will greatly enhance the plans, providing additional benefits for residents and visitors to the city,” he said this week.
“We are also undertaking the requirements to satisfy planning preconditions. Unfortunately, this is taking a little longer than we originally anticipated.
“This involves preparing reports and carrying out surveys, which are then sent to various consultees for consideration.
“With all of this needing to be finalised before we can get going on site, there will be a short delay in seeing work starting. However, we hope to undertake prestart works late this year, with construction starting early 2024.
“We remain fully committed to delivering this landmark project for the city of Bangor.”
Bangor Central councillor Alistair Cathcart accepted that after decades of delays and disappointment on the long-promised overhaul of Queen’s Parade, any further setbacks will be frustrating.
But he also urged people to keep what amounts to a comparatively small bureaucratic hitch in perspective.
“I appreciate that people will naturally be disappointed about the few months’ delay to the start of construction,” he said, “and the doomsayers will be rejoicing at an opportunity to talk Bangor down.
“But the funding secured through Levelling Up gives the opportunity for current plans to be enhanced and additional attractions added, for example a play area.
“There is also an opportunity for an improved offering for the main focal piece at the centre of Marine Gardens; some were underwhelmed with the proposed fountain, and this now will be looked at again.
“I would point out that the timescale for the completed scheme is not altered. It will remain the same and is legally bound to complete by 2027.
“The development will transform the seafront and the scheme is improving further with the availability of Levelling Up funding. I know that some will have a ‘here we go again’ negative feeling about the project due to this delay, but the long-awaited improvement to Bangor is proceeding.”
The Marine Gardens section of the scheme will be constructed on the current site of a large car park on Queen’s Parade plus the former home of Project 24’s art pods.
The opening part of the massive £50m development, it will create a publicly accessible and attractive area boasting seafront lawns, a children’s play area and space to hold events.
Subsequent phases are set to happen on land between Queen’s Parade and King Street, which will host a hotel plus spa, office space, apartments, a cinema and a marketplace courtyard with space for local shops, cafes and restaurants.