Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Ards Borough: Newtownards Regional Policy Context
The Regional Development Strategy, (RDS), identifies Newtownards as a vibrant service, commercial and shopping centre serving an extensive hinterland in the Ards Peninsula and North Down, and as a “main hub” with the potential to develop as a “growth pole” for the clustering of economic activity.
The RDS regards Newtownards to be one of the towns in Northern Ireland, which can provide a counter-balance to the BMA. As a main hub, Newtownards is expected to be the major location for employment, services and a range of cultural and leisure activities but it recognises that the capacity for significant peripheral growth is constrained by the nature of its setting and the need to maintain open countryside in the Green Belt between it and neighbouring towns.
A slower rate of greenfield growth is forecast throughout the Plan period, with more development taking places on sites in the urban area. Consolidation of the urban form is emphasised, and concentration on economic development, including tourism.
The RDS emphasises the need to sustain attractive and vibrant town centres as prime locations for retail, service, administrative, leisure and cultural facilities. Priority is to be given in Newtownards to enhancing the town’s commercial role and environment, and to dealing with through traffic in the town centre in order to maintain its competitive status with other large shopping centres. In view of traffic congestion on the approach roads to Newtownards, the RDS also recommends that consideration be given to linking new private development with the provision of public transport, additional infrastructure and community facilities.
Renewal and revitalisation should continue in run down sectors of towns, particularly in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Economic development should also be targeted at disadvantaged areas in order to address unemployment.