Queen’s Parade 27 years later.

I ran for office in 1993 because of the mess of the Bangor Seafront. Yes, 26 years ago the Council decided it would become a property developer and save Bangor.

When I landed back in Northern Ireland, after many years in business in London, I saw the derelict seafront buildings and a large brick edifice being built on the seaward side of the shore and I wondered what the hell was going on.

The seashore was Bangor, the sea view was Bangor and the Council were cementing it over and destroying Bangor’s main focus and selling point.

Actually this shambles all started a year before… so in fact it was 27 years ago.

Watch this Nolan Show clip… it’s ten minutes long. After I did this show I was handed a note by a senior party leader telling me that, as a punishment for speaking out to the media, that I would never be Mayor.

By the time I left the Council I was the longest serving Councillor never to have held the position of Mayor… but I didn’t give a damn as I knew that I was the most successful Councillor in the history of North Down Borough Council and that was all that mattered.


I argued from the start (1993) that the Bangor Council should keep its nose out of the business world because everything that they would touch would take years to do and cost ten times that of a private enterprise development… and so it turned out.

I stated that the Queen’s Parade landlords would sit on their properties and milk the Council for every penny and that it would take years to agree the purchases. I actually think that even today, 27 years later, all the property has not been bought yet.

Never mind the past let’s take a look at now! (I could fill ten pages with the fights, yelling crowds and the Council’s lies and incompetence.)

You, the people of Bangor, lose £250,000 a year in rates income from the barren land. You also lose around £2 million pounds in earned income from lost wages. You spent £5 million to buy the fiasco in the first place, £100s of thousands in failed plans and officer wages and on top of all that the damage to tourism and cultural prestige must add up to at least £2 million a year.

The final bill for Bangor Council’s Folly… £121,000,000 loss to your borough. Yes, that’s one hundred and twenty one million pound loss.

…and still we are no further along.

6 thoughts on “Queen’s Parade 27 years later.”

  1. Andrea Beck says:

    Well Austin at log last!! I Have been on and off Facebook and although I wasn’t talking about money as rates etc I was complaining about how bangor had been ruined by the Marina and Bregenz and the losing of the beach at the bottom of the street etc etc! I went with my parents to the meeting about the marina before it was built ,I think Adrian mcdoweell was there and Bruce mulligan ,I was in my early teens I think They were spouting about how the marina was for the rate players of bangor and for the future ratepayers of Bangor- in the question time I stood up and asked( I think I was about the only youngster there)how I would benefit in yrs to come or any of the ratepayers would, and was told that I would have somewhere to walk through and lovely boats to look at and the money that the marina users would bring in would greatly benefit Bangor!!!
    I pointed out that these boat owners would not be allowing people to freely walk about amongst their boats ,where we could freely walk around the beach ,and McKee clock now!
    They couldn’t tell me how it would benefit me ,or any family I might have ,other than that I would have somewhere safe to harbour my boat!!!
    Very glib!
    Especially as I came from a very keen sailing and seaworthy family! Proper sailors not motor boaters, my dad was one of a handful of life members of Ballyholme yacht club, having joined as a young lad, when it was a wooden hut, and they were in dire straights! I was brought up in Ballyholme and swam from the age of six because dad wouldn’t allow us to sail until we could swim! I asked if the boats were still to be allowed to moor in Ballyholme bay ,as we had all heard rumours that we would be forced to use the marina!!
    They virtually laughed at me as tho I had no idea!
    Well was I right??
    A few years on and I’m married with a family and we bought an old terrace on the esplanade, it was the last year that any of the yachts were able to get insurance to moor in the bay !!!
    The bay was never the same!
    Bangor was never the same!
    I’ve lived here all my life ,I am a true Bangorian ,I’ve grandparents and great grandparents buried in the Abbey Graveyard( used to be the sign of a true Bangorian )
    I still live in Ballyholme ,but it’s a very changed place ,and not for the better!!
    Bangor has no resemblance to what it used to look like ,mores the pity!!
    I remember when the woodstore on kings street closed and the people who lived in all those houses were told they had to go! They were on tv too complaining!!!
    Bangor and new seafront was to be a wonderful place!!
    That was in my teens ,now I’m not far off 60 ,and they are no further along!!! Every so often we are told about the wonderful plans and the things that are going to happen ,well ,ok the flagship was built ,supposed to be the mainstay of this new upcoming town—/ its closing and there is no new Bangor!!
    Sorry Austin ,I rambled on a bit there , but now like most other people ,we just carry on! Laugh when we hear what’s planned, I’ve been paying my rates for years, but gained nothing ,except to see my hometown torn down ,and left with a great blot on the landscape -other places have flourished and prospered Bangot hasn’t ! AND NO ONE CAN REFUTE THAT!!

    1. austenlennon says:

      A very just and accurate ‘ramble’ if only more people would be as passionate.

  2. Desi says:

    Completely true. Why others cannot see that it is a failed project that has destroyed Bangor is beyond me.

    You lose the bay, you lost Bangor. Simple as that.

    The future project, if any will include or be on the back of the present failures. It will be a shambles

    I am convinced that Bangor will still be like this for many more years. We should have grasped the nettle and floated the Marina down towards Ballyholme and restored a proper bay once more.

    Lights, get rid of a few bushes, build nonsense, failed projects costing a fortune and allowed to be there for years and years…thats Bangors ultimate answer.

    Public consultation is nil. If you think your opinion counts on what will be in Bangor you are deluded. You can Turning it into one expensive joke that everyone is paying for.

    Rip Bangor

  3. Nicky. says:

    Well Austen u did yr best 2 improve BANGOR. But fools that r on Council out voted u
    . TIME the Bangor folk had their say.

  4. Christine Kennedy says:

    The whole debacle is heartbreaking, especially as the harsh truth is that our very own town council caused the sad demise of our town, shameful.

  5. Trish L. G-E says:

    Why has nobody been held accountable?

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