Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Ards Borough: Newtownards
Newtownards is located close to the outer edge of the Belfast Metropolitan Area, 16 kilometres east of Belfast and 6 kilometres south of Bangor. It is the largest settlement in Ards Borough, with a population which has grown rapidly in recent years to an estimated 27,795 in 2001.
The settlement has monastic origins in the 6th and 13th Centuries AD but its present form and character largely reflects growth in the 19th Century related to the textile industry and the arrival of the railway in 1850. A weaver’s quarter was established to the north of West Street in the first half of that century. Court Street is the sole surviving example from that era of the cottage industry. The textile industry sustained the steady growth of Newtownards during the 20th Century.
Today it provides a wide range of services and facilities and functions as a commuter settlement for the Belfast Metropolitan Area (BMA). Despite the recent and sharp decline in the textile sector, the town remains attractive to business enterprise and shoppers alike.
The town is located in a natural amphitheatre, on the northern shoreline of Strangford Lough, surrounded by the higher topography which separates it from Bangor, Dundonald and the BMA.
Post-war housing and business development has extended beyond the Town Centre towards the north and east to cover all but the highest ground and an extensive area between the Comber and Portaferry Roads, occupied by the airfield.