The Ards and North Down Council has successfully secured funding via the Rural Development Programme’s Village Renewal Scheme to review and update seven of the existing village plans for the borough. There was a meeting on the 20th November regarding this but as yet no summary or specific details have been made available for us to upload here. Watch this space.
Some info in the meantime for you below.

This article was taken from the Down News in 2013

A vision for Ballygowan’s future has been laid out in a new village plan.

Launched on Monday 9 September, the new plan identifies a range of projects to improve village life, from enhancing community and youth facilities to boosting enterprise and investment in the local economy.

Developed by the local community association, with funding from the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the plan also received support from Ards Borough Council and County Down Rural Community Network.  The plan took shape following an extensive period of local consultation which included a household survey, a model building day by local P7 children, and a Planning for Real public open day.
Ballygowan and District Community Association members with local Ards Borough officials and Strangford area politicians at the launch of the Ballygowan action plan.

Sean Hughes, Chairman of Ballygowan and District Community Association, said: ‘It was great to see so many residents from Ballygowan getting involved with the activities on the night. It is now the responsibility of the statutory agencies, Ards Borough Council, elected representatives and the community association (in conjunction with residents’ support) to take these ideas, nurture them and make sure that they come to fruition.

“Ballygowan is a village bordering on decline, and with the future of key services and further development of the village uncertain in the current economic climate, we need to take charge and regenerate our own village.

“With the enthusiasm shown on Monday night we can turn Ballygowan around to become a thriving community and an inspiration for other villages to follow”.

To help the Association on its way, in October 2012 Ballygowan and District Community Association were awarded funding of £6,600 under Measure 3.5 Village Renewal and Development of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 and from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s Rural Regeneration Funding 2012-2013.

Mayor of Ards Borough Council, Councillor Stephen McIlveen, paid tribute to the local community association and the community as a whole and added: “The community’s enthusiastic response to the call to action during the consultation process and the community association’s commitment to the development of a plan which has at its heart, the betterment of their village, deserves to be commended and congratulated”.

Also speaking at the event Councillor Trevor Cummings, Chairman of the Council’s Development Committee, said: “No-one is better placed than the people who live and work in an area to identify issues and concerns, to highlight possible improvement and to comment on weaknesses in services or facilities.

“Conversely, the same people know where the strengths lie and how to build on them. That is exactly what has happened here in Ballygowan through the village planning process and I look forward to the plan’s implementation and to seeing the tangible results in the years to come”.

Unfortunately due to a number of reasons this plan never gained momentum. It has now been revisited five years later due to the availability of funding as you can see below  taken from the Ards and North Down Website.

Village Plans

Village plans set out an integrated vision for the area they cover; they are developed as part of a partnership approach to improving the area.

Each village plan describes:

  • your local area and vision for how the area will develop in the future
  • the key issues, priorities and opportunities in your area
  • how you can be involved in improving your local area
  • useful information about working alongside the council to get things done

Village plans are in place for all 16 villages in the Borough:

Ballygowan; Carrowdore; Cloughey; Groomsport; Helen’s Bay and Crawfordsburn; Killinchy; Lisbarnett and Lisbane; Millisle; Portavogie; Six Road Ends; Ballyhalbert; Ballywalter; Conlig; Greyabbey; Kircubbin and Portaferry.

Review of existing village plans

Following a number of consultation meetings with villages in the Borough, the Council has successfully secured funding via the Rural Development Programme’s Village Renewal Scheme to review and update seven of the existing village plans for the borough.

Insight Solutions have been appointed to undertake the consultancy services alongside Council’s Assistant Regeneration Officers, Pamela Dempster pamela.dempster@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk and Beverley Skillen beverley.skillen@ardsandnorthdown.gov.uk, 0300 013 3333 ext 40925/40913.

Work has now commenced to deliver these revised plans in the following areas; Ballygowan, Carrowdore, Groomsport, Helen’s Bay and Crawfordsburn, Killinchy, Lisbane and Lisbarnett and Portavogie.

You can download a copy of the original Village Plan brochure HERE

There was a meeting on the 20th November regarding the updating of this village plan which was attended by the BRS but as yet there is details from the group Insight Solutions.

A group of people did decide that they wanted to take the only green area in Ballygowan where the children play and turn it into a car park. Instead we propose that the green area be updated and that the green area around the playground to be used for outdoor gym equipment. To view details of such a gym click here TGO Outdoor gym brochure_v7 – website3 

 

This post was uploaded to the Facebook Page of the BRS where a comment was made by Christine Jane as follows:

This information is 5yrs old. BDCA is now run by a very capable and industrious team WHO actually get things done for OUR village. Stop living in the past and let our future grow. This article has no reliance today!!

The BRS replied:

Hello Christine. Thank you for message.
If you read the article it explains that some information was taken from 2013 and that the rest was taken from a RECENT article posted by Ards and North Down Council so yes it has massive relevance for today Christine. If you were at the meeting in November you would have heard people ask what was the original Village Plan so I have tried to address that through a newspaper article and allowing them to download the content. It also explains that the Village Plan is now being revisited and that any input would be most welcome. I also posted it up because one of the local traders I spoke with said that people are not aware of what is going on in this town.
The question is – why the attack on BRS or is it myself? Your post seems to suggest the latter and it also suggests that the BDCA 5 years ago wasn’t run efficiently which I am sure the people of the BDCA at the time would be unhappy to hear you say especially as we were all just volunteers and gave up massively of our time. I myself was voted consecutively in as chairperson for 6 years so I must have been doing something right.
You say OUR village. Are you implying that this is not MY village also? Would you like to share why you think it is just YOUR village and not EVERYONE’S village?
I am assisting in setting up a major charity event for the Royal Irish Guards in May which will be posted on this website and Facebook account. Will you have a problem with this also?
The BRS has been set up to help people in Ballygowan and in particular smaller local traders. Do you have a problem with people helping others? If you have a problem with people taking the initiative and trying to help then please let those who read this article know your reason why this is an issue for you.
If you look at the website https://ballygowan.info it is designed to get local people involved. It is a positive website informing people how to help each other (helpfulpeeps) even report pot holes (fix my street).
I was at a meeting this week called Good Relations organised by the police and Ards North Down Council. You will see the article in recent posts. They had nothing but praise for the website and Facebook page because as they said ‘It showed what could be done if just one person took the initiative and wouldn’t it be great if others followed suit and supported getting involved.
The Ballygowan Regeneration Society is open to everyone who wants to get involved. I was informed by a long time resident of Ballygowan that they had asked the Regeneration Group/BDCA to be involved and were told that ‘Sorry the officers have been chosen and no more room for membership’. The BRS opens it’s doors to anyone who has an opinion. No one has to be voted in. As long as it follows the rules of courtesy and respect for all then they can post on here to their hearts content.
But again thank you for your message. I will transfer it over to the forum where this message can be highlighted and discussed. Your message does highlight the fact there are still people who are determined to keep communities divided regardless of how much a person wants to help ALL.
Unfortunately such messages will do nothing to encourage people to help others and get involved in any local organisation for fear of such attacks.

What do you think?