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.
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