Ards and Down Area Plan 2015
Ards Borough: Newtownards Transportation
Newtownards is located at the intersection of a number of routes and is the gateway to the Ards Peninsula. Consequently the road system carries a high proportion of through traffic in addition to traffic generated within the town.
In the Town Centre, the local network converges on the junctions at Gibsons Lane/Regent Street, South Street/High Street and at the Market Cross. Consequently, Regent Street/Frances Street, Mill Street/High Street and South Street each carry high volumes of traffic. On-street parking and the limited capacity of the main junctions in the town to deal with traffic exacerbate the situation. The results are congestion, particularly at peak times, conflict with pedestrians, degradation of the environment and a loss in the attractiveness of the Town Centre as a shopping destination.
Plan policies affecting the development of transportation in Newtownards are set out in the Transportation Section in Volume 1 of the Plan (Policy TRAN 1 and TRAN 2). Road Schemes to be provided in accordance with Policy TRAN 1 in Volume 1 are listed overleaf and shown on Map No. 2/002a, Newtownards Settlement Map (Proposals NS 34 – NS 36). Road Schemes to be provided in accordance with Policy TRAN 2 are identified under the relevant land use proposals (NS 19, NS 20 and NS 21).
The Plan prepares for developments in public transportation by recognising the potential development of the EWAY, a rapid transportation system which is planned to extend from Dundonald to Newtownards, and eventually into the Ards Peninsula. Specific measures to be taken in preparation include protecting the route of the Frederick Street Link, (Policy TRAN 1), which will facilitate access for public transport into the Town Centre, and the provision of a modal interchange as part of the development of the former Scrabo High School site. The interchange (Proposal NS 37) will provide for both EWAY and Express Bus services and will function as a Park and Ride site.
The Plan also protects for future transportation purposes the bed of disused railway tracks which offer potential for either powered modes of transport or simply for use as public paths.
The following road proposals are identified
in accordance with Policy TRAN 1 in Volume 1 of the Plan:
• Proposal 34 - Southern Link Road;
• Proposal 35(a) - Frederick Street Link Road;
• Proposal 35(b) - Talbot Street - North Road Upgrade; and;
• Proposal 36 - Bowtown Road – Portaferry Road Link.
The Southern Link Road will run between the Portaferry Road, Comber Road and Kempe Stones Road. This will relieve congestion in and around the Town Centre, improve journey times for both private and public transport, and encourage investment and growth in the town. Planning permission has been granted for the construction of this road in association with commercial development at Castlebawn, between the Comber and Portaferry Roads, and construction is currently underway.
The Frederick Street Link Road will improve the present route into the Town Centre from the Kempe Stones Road roundabout, and will enhance access into the Town Centre for public transportation.
The current junction layout at Talbot Street, North Road, Newtownards does not sufficiently cater for the traffic flows. The proposed scheme would involve providing a realigned junction, with Talbot Street/North Road becoming the main road and North Street becoming the side road. This arrangement will reflect the actual traffic flows at the junction and will enhance capacity at this junction.
This road link between the Bowtown Road and the Portaferry Road will facilitate the movement of west and south bound traffic via the Southern Link Road. This link will also connect with developer funded distributor roads which will be provided as part of housing zonings linking through to the Donaghadee Road and Bangor Road.
The lands at the former Scrabo High School site in Newtownards occupy a strategic, and highly accessible, location for transportation development on the edge of the urban area and adjacent to the A20 Link Corridor. Approximately 100 parking spaces should be provided.
Part of the Transportation Vision within the RDS is to promote integration between different modes of travel. The location of an interchange point at the former Scrabo High School site and the promotion of associated public transport routes and park and ride facilities will serve to extend travel choice and reduce traffic on that stretch of the Regional Strategic Transport Network between Belfast and Newtownards.