As reported in the last newsletter, the city's Strategic Partnership Access and Linkages group has been working to develop a new Master Plan for the city. As part of this process LDC 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 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.
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:
Celebrate our unique place between the mountains and the coast.
As a city of learning, encourage ways to use that knowledge to change the world.
Ensuring the health and wellbeing of future generations needs to be embraced with any development.
Ensuring that developments create more equality, not less.
Can the city celebrate, promote and offer more of its unique Welsh cultural heritage?
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:
Changing the way people arrive in the city, creating co-working spaces.
Reimagining the area around Storiel, Pontio and the Cathedral to re-centre the heart of the city to this under-utilised area.
Making better use of this area.
The Strategic Partnership and LDC 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 developmenting the master plan, the following key critieria should be at the heart of the decision making process:
Members of the Strategic Parnership 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.