Bangor’s Strategic Partnership Access and Linkages group have revealed a new ‘Master Plan’ for the city.

Gwynedd Council commissioned the master plan, with a newly formed strategic partnership including Bangor City Council, Bangor University, the Welsh Government, Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and Bangor Business Improvement District (BID). The aim is to create a better-connected city, with improved public realm, making it a healthier and more prosperous place to live.

 

A new 20-year strategy and vision will position the whole of Bangor as a City of Learning and Culture, enabling one of the UK’s smallest cities to reach its full potential and maximising benefits for local people.

 

As part of this process LDA Design were appointed to develop high level and some specific detailed designs for the city.

After ‘The Big Planning Week’ which took place in the first week of April, Bernie Foulkes, Director of LDA Design, recently returned to Bangor to present their plans to the City Partnership, based on the information from the 2.5 days of workshops involving representatives from across a wide variety of user groups.

The thoughts, aspirations and desires from these workshops were gathered and developed into a plan for the city. The ideas represent not only the current needs but also reflect the ever-changing landscape of the city, its high street and future desires.

How and why we interact with the city is an ever-changing concept and the plan tries to reflect this. Any plan will need to be flexible as the future landscape shifts in ways that we cannot yet predict. The master plan has to be ever-evolving, but a starting point is needed to get the momentum of change going.

Small World City

The idea that Bangor is a “Small World City” was captured. Whilst the population is relatively small, the city has a big cultural heritage and a diverse population and there was an outward look on the world rather than an inward focus. The following themes were consistent across the workshops and represent people’s hopes and aspirations for the city:

1. Sea to Summit

Celebrate our unique place between the mountains and the coast.

  • Celebrate the beautiful waterfront setting and the backdrop of the mountains
  • Improve pedestrian and cycle connections between the natural environment and the city centre
  • Create a green corridor from the Roman Camp, through the heart of the city and up to Bangor Mountain

2. Ideas and Exploration

As a city of learning, encourage ways to use that knowledge to change the world.

  • Develop an innovation district
  • Create work spaces around the station
  • Explore the university’s strengths
  • Develop the High Street not just as a place to shop

3. Healthy City

Ensuring the health and wellbeing of future generations needs to be embraced with any development.

  • As a small city with a natural setting, Bangor can develop as a healthy city by improving ways to move around safely and easily
  • Radically improve the cycle network across the whole city
  • How to reach the many peaceful, beautiful places in and around the city
  • Explore the role of technology for health and wellbeing

4. Fair and Equitable

Ensuring that developments create more equality, not less.

  • Work towards giving everyone in the city more equal opportunities through education and housing
  • Improve communication through physical interventions and also through the spread of information
  • Find ways to make isolated communities feel more part of the city
  • Opportunities around the new Health Hub and Homeless Centre

5. One World City

Can the city celebrate, promote and offer more of its unique Welsh cultural heritage?

  • Celebrate Bangor as the most Welsh city
  • Promote activities in the city to bring together the amazing range of people
  • Encourage networks with Cardiff, Europe and worldwide to export brilliance from Bangor
  • Open more food outlets which offer cuisine from around the world
  • Develop the cultural programme through the Pontio Centre and Storiel

The Master Plan

Three focal areas of development have been identified as part of the master plan, with additional thought given to how to connect these areas together and to other areas of the city.

Three opportunity zones for development have been identified:

1. The Station Quarter

Changing the way people arrive in the city, creating co-working spaces.

  • Create a square at the station entrance and incorporate a cycle bridge
  • Change traffic circulation to improve pedestrian and cycle environment
  • Deiniol Road Focal Space

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. The Heart of The City

Reimagining the area around Storiel, Pontio and the Cathedral to re-centre the heart of the city to this under-utilised area.

  • Connecting all the elements together with Deiniol Road
  • Re organising the traffic flows around the area (pedestrian priority)
  • Create a multi-use central square (events, markets, social)
  • Create a College Park below the Main Arts Building
  • Create better key pedestrian routes into the high street

3. The Waterfront

Making better use of this area.

  • The new flood defences provide opportunities for change
  • Better connections to Garth Pier
  • Create business, food and leisure opportunities on the front

The Strategic Partnership and LDA will now take these concepts forward and continue to develop them into more detailed plans in order to access funding. Feedback from the workshops and public sessions also highlighted that when the Strategic Partnership consider developing the master plan, the following key criteria should be at the heart of the decision making process:

 

  • The potential for attracting/encouraging further investment
  • Its potential for countering/arresting current trends and market forces
  • Its potential for promoting good development and adding value
  • The ease with which a project can be packaged and delivered – availability of skills, project management
  • Addressing climate change – changing behaviours, reducing carbon emissions, flood attenuation, increasing biodiversity
  • Public health – improving air and water quality, encouraging more walking and cycling
  • Encouraging greater social cohesion and better integration of communities across the town
  • Making Bangor more beautiful

Funding the Plan

Members of the Strategic Partnership also recently met with Ian Williams, Deputy Director Homes & Places for the Welsh Government, to discuss the funding and development of the city.

As a local boy, Ian is very keen to see Bangor develop its potential and to be a city that embraces these current uncertain times to create a better, more sustainable place to live, work and visit.

He was keen to point out that to gain any chance of accessing funding for these sorts of changes, only cities with strong partnerships would be eligible. These partnerships must involve city/town councils, BIDs, education, local authorities and health (as a minimum) working together to form clear, coherent strategies.

The partnership will keep all interested parties informed of the evolution of the plans as they move through the various stages of development and funding.