I note the current glut of new development proposals but worry that they are taking place in a piecemeal way, without much contextual reference, and seemingly without being informed by an overall spatial vision for how the city should look and function as a whole. Does anyone else think along these lines, and do they share my concerns that the new developments tend to be eroding sense of place rather than enhancing it, and that we really need development to go hand-in-hand with enhancements to the public realm (particularly to the quality of the pedestrian environment). Maybe the Bangor Civic Society can play a priminant role here? If we miss this trick we risk ending up with sort of a car dominated bog standard retail park quarter!
Re: Bangor - urban design - a co-ordinated approach
Re: Bangor - urban design - a co-ordinated approach to redevelopments
I agree with the comments of John Briggs. While I welcome the developments, I fear that little thought has been given to design of these developments and how they integrate with existing buildings and facilities. Bangor needs a sustained, coherent long-term development plan to attract people into the city day and night. Go there on a typical weekday evening and it can be like a ghost town not the vibrant cosmopolitan city it should be.
In terms of large to medium scale developments, you may be aware of the Unitary Development Plan, which is a planning instrument that identifies areas for development between 2001 and 2016 and aims to have some form of planning foresight. From what I understand the plans officially remain in the amendments and reviews stage 6 years on. I recommend you have a look at the website which can be found here. Ultimately it is the Council's Planning Committee who decide what does and what doesn't make a good development based on plans submitted by developers.
In my opinion we are lacking a vision for the city, a goal that we are seeking to achieve.
Planning for more than the Town and Country Planning Acts
I was lucky enough to be brought up in a garden village (population about 2000) and enjoyed a very high quality of environment and level of development control. An important part of that was due to the legal agreement set up when the estate was built, which stated various 'do's and 'dont's for the benefit of peace and amenity, which 100 years later, are still in force, with legal backing. These are quite apart from what the Planners in the local authority do. There were instances I understand of where a development gained planning permission, but could still not go ahead because the estate Committee did not give its consent.
That committee took its lead by referendum of all the residents of the estate. Truly the will of the people, but also a recipe for a very conservative approach to development, given how NIMBY residents can be. Some interesting oddities resulting from all this including hedge species and height specifications to be maintained by each house hold, density and distance from neighbour rules, no pubs or betting shops (the original land owners were Quakers), no street lights, though we could keep 2 pigs. Perhaps we can learn from other forms of development control, given the ineffectiveness of the existing formal Planning system to stop the gradual deteriation, over development and erosion of quality of environment.
I think Bangor needs to take a careful look at the character and connectivity of its townscape, something that goes beyond the UDP, important though that is. The following link takes you to a helpful document that explains things better than I can! (I couldnt find a Welsh equivalent document). The link is: