Society News

Memories of Bangor - Open Day 2017

The Civic Society in association with Storiel will be holding a Memories of Bangor event on Saturday 4th February 2017, 1pm-4pm at Penrhyn Hall (free admission).

Bring lots of pictures and memories to share!

All very welcome.

View/Download the pdf poster here

Heritage Lottery Fund opportunities

We are currently recruiting for two new committee members for our Committee for Wales. The role presents an exciting opportunity to become more involved in heritage, helping us to promote public understanding and enjoyment of it to the widest possible audience.  We are keen to receive applications from people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who can demonstrate an affinity for the region’s diverse heritage. Your details have been passed on to us by our Wales team so I wanted to send this for your information. We want this to reach as many people as possible so if you are able, please do circulate this email through your networks or to anyone you think might be interested in these roles. Candidates are especially sought who have Welsh language skills or knowledge of the natural heritage sector; skills that are currently under-represented on our Committee. We also consider the geographic spread of our committee, aiming where possible to achieve representation of members across the country. Applications are particularly welcomed from those with knowledge of the heritage, culture and networks of North Wales.

 For more information and how to apply - Here is a link to our website where you can find out more about the role of a committee member. Committee opportunities. Please click the following link to download application materials and apply. Apply here. I have also attached the guidance note which explores the requirements of the role and gives more information on the Heritage Lottery Fund.  

For an informal discussion contact Richard Bellamy, Head of HLF Wales, on 029 2023 4144 or email Otherwise, please email for general enquiries.  Completed applications must be received by Monday 27 June.

Sackville Road (yes again)
Watkin Jones have resubmitted their application for an ill concieved drive-thru Starbucks, again.

Sackvile Road gardens has always been a green site, with only gardening when it was fully used by the University. It is one of the few remaining green sites in the Bangor valley. It lies immediately north west of the culverted river Adda so by losing important tree and green space we will be increasing surface run off and risk of flooding. The trees at the location add value to the civic space and provide a break in the built environment and are visually attractive although not as well kept by the current landowners. It lies outside the defined 'town centre' and offers neither town centre nor out-of-town benefits.

The proposals are for an isolated drive-thru to work in competition with cafes at Pontio/Storiel/ASDA and the town centre. The development is far more suited to the new entertainment complex on Parc Bryn Cegin or to Caernarfon Road where it could renew a brownfield plot and be amoungst similar grade units like McDonald's. The principle of coffee shops or Starbucks is fine but those jobs created risk others in a market which is now well supplied, the net jobs it may create would be created wherever they located the store in any case. The location is poorly devised and based solely on its visibility to passing road users. The ASDA roundabout can be incredibly busy and form a pinch point for congestion on the A5 main route through the city and has been repeatedly altered by Highways to try and manage the flow. The value to Bangor in loosing the visual amenity, an asset to natural flood defense and trees under a preservation order.. purely to over supply coffee shops at that particular location is madness.

Application details (C16/0436/11/LL)
Railway Institute: Sadly despite concerted efforts from many people across the community it hasn't been possible to save the Railway Institute building from demolition. Developers aggrieved at having a development rejected for the site have taken the opportunity to pull down the building in the hope that a future application on the now brownfield site would be more likely to succeed. Without Listed status no statutory or other protections existed to prevent it's loss. Despite the decline of the railway as an employer the building was a key definable historical feature in an area of Bangor which expanded and thrived from the coming of the railway to Bangor. It's social and welfare ethos, and benevolence adding weight to its value to the community. We await the inevitable application incorporating bland design, profiteering and over-supply of student accommodation to be submitted.

Sackville Road: The application for a drive-thru coffee shop on the greenfield site on Sackville Road has again been thrown to one side. Watkin Jones have stated that they will not consider a sale or donation of the land to the University or Councils so that the trees and land can be maintained properly for the City, favouring to do all in their power to make the site appear to be unkempt and ideal for concreting.

Former Post Office: Revised plans have been submitted for the (Listed) Post Office site C15/0844/11/CR proposing 116 student let rooms (instead of 151) by heavily developing the outbuildings to the rear of the Listed building itself to overshadow the 1907 library with a new 5 storey structure. The central sited building close to amenities and within the cultural and historical quarter of Bangor lies outside any accommodation zone and will offer no parking facilities whatsoever.
SAVE OUR TREES! Bangor’s Landscape threatened once more.
Bangor’s iconic black poplar trees are under threat once again. Widnes-based developers Morbaine want to cut down these graceful giants in Sackville Road and replace them with a drive-in coffee shop.

Secretary of Bangor Civic Society Don Mathew commented “ This is a crazy application. The site is on the corner of the ASDA roundabout, the most difficult road junction in Bangor. It is the last place you want to increase traffic levels.”

Previous attempts to develop the site have failed, not least because the trees are subject to a Tree Preservation Order – a regulation still in force. Additionally the Civic Society believes any development on the site would be contrary to Council policies on Sustainability. Don Mathew added “We have just had serious floods in Bangor. The very last thing we should be doing is cutting down trees and concreting over green spaces.”

Contact, and say you are opposed to this development. Give your own reasons.
For full details check the Council’s Planning section for Ref C15/1290/11/LL.
Proposed Overdevelopment on Post Office site
The Society are opposing the overdevelopment of the old Post Office site. Directly adjoining the cultural quarter, the proposed 180 student units proposed is excessive in number. Further this development by its juxtaposition between the extremely fine Grade Two listed building of the Post Office and the very pleasant features of Bangor Library requires special treatment and consideration. Something a good deal better is required for this important site, and accordingly we have called on the Council to reject the current proposals. 

C15/0828/11/LL refers

Railway Institute
Sadly plans have been submitted for a new 3 storey building to create a total of 27 student apartments and parking for 7 vehicles on the site of the Bangor Railway Institute, built in 1898 and extended in 1905. The plans envisage the total demolition of the attractive amenity without consideration of it's inclusion or alternative use. The building, although unlisted remains a keystone in the areas history and would be a loss to the cultural and historic fabric or Bangor if demolished.

Sign the petition against the demolition

C15/0533/11/LL refers
Objection from the Victorian Society.

© Image copyright Jeremy Bolwell and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Katharina Moeller kindly presented the project to the Society. HeritageTogether aims to produce heritage data in conjunction with local communities. Photographs of heritage artefacts and environments across Wales will be uploaded onto the projects website with communities encouraged to submit images. The resulting contributions will be computationally rendered as 3D models. [example Penfras-Uchaf (Llwyndyrys) Standing Stone], which provides a unique and comprehesive record and even allows for 3D printing!

The project is funded under the Humanities Research Council’s ‘Connected Communities’ call and is a collaboration between the schools of Computer Science at Bangor University and Aberystwyth University, and schools of Archaeology at Bangor University and Manchester Metropolitan University and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust.

Belle Vue Garage
Perhaps a prime site for development, but the Belle Vue garage is adjacent to a Conservation area and set amoungst 3 storey terraces forming one of Bangor's most familiar street scenes leading to the Main University estate of grade listed buildings. The developers propose to predictably push the boundaries of the site and to develop beyond the surrounding structures to create further student accomodation at a time when demand is falling. Bangor City Council and others have also submitted objections. Whilst it would be good to see this site developed it must be done sympathetically.

The application C14/0553/11/LL
Our observations of Objection
Love Bangor - Presentation by Rhys Taylor
Thank you to Rhys Taylor @syhrtaylor the Bangor Students' Union President for his presentation last night. Rhys will be working over the coming year with other students and agencies to develop a project to tackle waste issues such as collection problems, recycling and residual litter by education and taking a proactive approach. Lots of good ideas and problem solving ahead of Gwynedd Councils future 4 week landfill-collection schedule. He will also be working with others to ensure that Students' have the best possible living conditions in HMO's (Houses of Muliple Occupation) which have resulted in some students living in cramped, damp, overpriced and poorly maintained houses effecting their health, study and the City generally.
“Tree Cover in Wales’ Towns and Cities”
Mandy Marsh introduced herself as Production Manager for Byd Natur, the magazine of Natural Resources Wales. She outlined for us the recently produced document “Tree Cover in Wales’ Towns and Cities” Wales is the first country to complete a survey of its Urban Trees and the document showed how Bangor and North Wales compared with the rest of the country. It lists the social and economic benefits of having trees in an urban setting such as: soaking up pollutants, dust and surface rain water; reduced asthma levels and other health benefits; lower crime rates, and provision of habitat for birds and insects. Research has shown that people behave better in a pleasant environment and they even prefer to shop where car parks are landscaped. Trees can help reduce the heat in urban environments. Mandy gave us lots of maps and graphs to illustrate the statistics for different parts of Wales. These are all available on the NRW website.
Churches Open Day (5th May)
Members visited St David's (Glanadda) and St Mary's (Hirael) Parish Churches sadly closed by the Diocese as places of worship this Easter. A huge thank you to Sue Booth the Churches Conservation and Development Officer.

The Diocese are now seeking outside parties with community focused ideas on what these fantastic buildings could become.
Gwynedd Council and partners are working on an application to UNESCO to recognise the Gwynedd Slate Industry as a World Heritage Site. The application could incorporate Penrhyn Port and sites across the County. Yesterday at Bangor Civic Society's meeting the project was presented to members by Roland Evans from Gwynedd Economy & Community Department (GCC) and Dr David Glyn (Consultant).

The project would compliment a successful previous bid which recognised the assets of the 'Castles and Town Walls of King Edward in Gwynedd'.

St Mary's Site
Bangor Civic Society (with some notes of concern) are supporting the development and investment in the St Mary's College site on Lon Pobty. The location is a 'brown field' site which is in a current state of decay. With a long and established use for education and accommodation it is one of the better examples of student halls schemes. The development will retain the older Quad and 1906 building on site, there will be a gym, shop, laundrette and other amenities. There will be on site security and CCTV. The buildings will be constructed and adapted to high environmental standards and a purpose built bat house has already been planned in. The University will be implementing a bus service for residents and promoting a cycle scheme. They will also be demolishing the 1960's halls on the Menai Strait (A Site of Special Scientific Interest) as part of the proposal.

Bangor University's Assistant Estates Director Derwyn Owen and developers presented the plans at Bangor Civic Society's meeting on the 26th February. They also invite members of the public to see the plans and model of the proposed development at Bangor Library.

The application C14/0035/11/LL
Our observations of Support
Lon Pobty Student Development
CHAMELEON DEVELOPMENTS NORTH LTD are proposing developing an area of Bangor Mountain protected by a Tree Preservation Order. The development will be directly in front of the the Grade II listed Bodifyr (Bishops Mill Road) and impose on Tan Y Bryn Terrace which it will look down on. It will feature just 5 standard car parking spaces, offer no identifiable amenities to residents and will increase traffic on the Bishops Mill Road junction. No account of the bat population has been made and there are concerns surrounding the underground water flow and drainage through the site. It is another example of private developers wanting to build low cost new builds at the expense of the community and environment.

The application C13/1298/11/AM
Our observations of Objection
137 High Street
Bangor Civic Society & Bangor City Council are opposing the total demolition of 137 High Street for a new build student hall development. The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments noted in 1960 that the current building at 137 High Street was built around 1700. There are records of it being lived in before then by Richard Boulton, mercer and coin issuer. It was then know as Vaynol House. The site was an important one in late medieval Bangor, with adjoining orchards and gardens at the back. Today it is a character property on the High Street with is a positive contribution to the townscape.

The proposal would also see the loss of the passageway to the west side which leads onto Kyffyn Square car park area.

The application C13/0995/11/LL
Our observations of Objection
High Street Pedestrians
Rhian Williams and Iwan ab Trefor from Cyngor Gwynedd Transport attended our Meeting on 23rd January 2014 to canvas opinion on High Street access and the time of day restrictions on disabled and delivery vehicles. The council have also been engaging with business and disability groups in adopting the best possible approach to vehicle use in the pedestrianised zone between the Cathedral and Dean Street
Bron Derw Flats
Developers have been urged not to use the city as a cash cow by overdeveloping plots for flat accommodation. The call by the Civic Society follows the successful campaign to prevent the over development of the Bron Derw site on Deiniol Road. The location which is a former house and GP surgery was proposed to have 3 more buildings constructed in the garden to cram 64 students onto the site with as few as 8 parking spaces. The plans were subsequently recommended for refusal by planning officers and withdrawn by the developers.

North Wales Chronicle Article

Phase Two Dickies Boatyard
Bangor Civic Society have joined forces with Grwp Hirael Bae to prevent the phase 2 development of the former Dickies boatyard in Bangor becoming the next location for a large scale multistory apartment block complex.

The location which is on Beach Road is the primary route into the city facing onto the bay area. The proposals would have had serious impacts on Penrhyn Castle, Bangor Pier and residents of Hirael and Garth. The proposals have now been withdrawn by the developer.

Bangor Timeline
Bangor Civic Society have been commissioned to develop the website companion to the Bangor High Street Timeline.

The timeline is a key component of the Public Realm project which has seen the transformation of the High Street public space between the Cathedral and Dean Street.

Follow the fascinating history of Bangor with our timeline, laid out at your feet in Welsh slate along the High Street. From Neolithic hunters, through Telford’s engineering feats, all the way to the Beatles and beyond, there’s so much to learn about this vibrant University City and retail centre. The timeline is made up of etched text panels and bronze roundels set in slate pavers. Significant dates in Bangor’s history are commemorated from 3000BC - 2012AD !

Deiniol Road Restaurant
Bangor Civic Society have successfully campaigned against the loss of green space and the development of a restaurant/flat complex at one of the busiest junctions in the City. The campaign included a petition with almost 500 signatories

The development on Deniol Road on the new ASDA roundabout would have seen the loss of established trees and the construction of a 130 seat restaurant, takeaway and 25 units of one and two bedroom accommodation with just 17 car parking spaces in total.

The application can be seen here.

History Points
Bangor Civic Society are happy to support The site uses QR codes placed at interesting locations which allows smart phone users the ability to freely and easily find out information about the location. The owners of the site have been to Bangor and showcased the site at a meeting of the Society.

Sites of interest in Bangor include the playing fields at Beach Road, where hundreds of British and American troops were stationed during the Second World War. After they had left, the site became a prisoner of war camp.