Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road and Bangor Road Link, Newtownards


Construction scheme (current)
To construct a link road connecting the Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road, and on to the A21 Bangor Road, round the north-east of Newtownards
Total Length
1.7 km / 1.1 miles for Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road
0.9 km / 0.6 miles for Donaghadee Road to Bangor Road
2007 - Included in Sub-Regional Transport Plan
March 2009 - Included in adopted Ards and Down Area Plan
15 Feb 2016 - Planning granted for Phase 1 at the Movilla Road end
June/July 2016 - Work began on the southern 400 metres of the road
Whole road could be completed within ten years - as of May 2016
Unknown - to be funded by private developers
None as yet - please contact me if you have any to contribute.
See Also

General area map - Google Maps

Ards and Down Area Plan 2015 - Planning Service

The Ards and Down Area Plan 2015, which was adopted in 2009, foresees significant growth in housing in Newtownards. The land is divided into two "Phases". Phase 1 lands must be fully developed before Phase 2 lands are released. The bulk of the proposed housing land lies to the east of the town (Phase 1) and the north-east of the town (Phase 2). The largest area of land in Phase 2 has the designation NS 20 and NS21 and these are shown on the map below. A condition of planning is that a distributor road must be built traversing the site, connecting Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road, and then on towards the Bangor Road. The route of this road will be up to the developer of the lands in question, but by way of illustration I have included below an example of a route that such a road might take. But bear in mind that this is pure conjecture. The NS20 and NS21 housing lands are shown in red, while a possible route of the road is shown as a blue line where it traverses the NS20 land. However, the route through the NS21 lands is better known, and is shown as a red line. It is known because this red line is part of a plan for a housing development by Dunlop Developments, for which outline planning permission was granted on 20 December 2012.

View Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road Link, Newtownards in a larger map

This scheme ties in to two other schemes that will, ultimately, lead to the creation of a partial "ring" road round the east of Newtownards from the A20 Portaferry Road in the south to the A21 Bangor Road dual-carriageway in the north. The two further components that would be needed to make this a reality are:

At the time of writing (August 2014) none of the Phase 2 lands have been released for development, and therefore there is no sign of this road being built in the short or even medium term. The only reference to the scheme in recent years was at the "sod cutting" ceremony of the A20 Southern Distributor in April 2008 when the "roads" minister said "With [the Southern Distributor] will come further road proposals as this A20 Southern Distributor is extended from the Portaferry Road to the Bowtown Road, to Movilla Road, to Donaghadee Road and in due course to the Bangor Road." Having said that, outline planning permission DOES seem to have been released for a development of the NS 21 lands, despite the Phase 1 lands not yet being fully developed. However only a very small amount of housing construction seems to have begun as yet (Ashbourne Manor).


30 Dec 2020: In the four years since the last update the developer has worked away and a number of houses in the Rivenwood development are now occupied. The arterial route through the site (Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road and Bangor Road Link) is now partly build and has apparently been named Rivenwood Boulevard - it's not clear to me whether this is the name approved by Ards and North Down Council, or just a "working" name. In any case, 400 metres of the road was open and in use by the time the image below was taken (during lockdown in April 2020), and an additional 300 metres was under construction. This represents about 40% of the stretch from Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road. At this rate, I'd expect it to take another five years or so to complete this stretch, which is being built as needed as construction progresses. No work has yet taken place on the Donaghadee Road to Bangor Road section.

Aerial shot of the new link road taken on 25 April 2020 and showing progress at that point. The yellow line at the bottom is Movilla Road. Donaghadee is out of shot to the upper left. [Google Earth]

19 Jan 2017: After my appeal for images in the previous update on 1 January I am grateful to two people for stepping up to the mark! Firstly, a short video by Carson Tse taken driving east on Movilla Road past the start of the new road on 9 January. This video shows us two things, firstly that the roundabout shown in the planning documents at the start of the new road has NOT been built. Instead the junction has been set up as a signalised junction. And secondly, that it has involved widening a lengthy stretch of Movilla Road (perhaps 100 metres) to provide a right-turn lane into the new road. So thank you Carson. And secondly to Paul McIlfatrick who explored the area on foot on 9 January. I include four of his images below. (There is a map at the bottom of this page that may help you get your bearings.) Thank you to Paul for taking and sharing these images.

Pic 1: View east along Movilla Road on 9 January 2017, with the junction at the southern end of the new road now completed but with the lights currently deactivated. Original plans showed a roundabout here. [Paul McIlfatrick]

Pic 2: Looking north along the first section of the new road on 9 January 2017. The developer is calling the development "Rivenwood", but the road hasn't been formally named yet. [Paul McIlfatrick]

Pic 3: Moving a couple of hundred metres north along the new road  towards the point where the completed stretch ends, on 9 January 2017. [Paul McIlfatrick]

Pic 4: The final hundred metres or so of the first phase of the new road under construction on 9 January 2017. In total about 400 metres of the 2.6km road is being built as part of this phase of work. The rest will follow over a period of years. [Paul McIlfatrick]

1 Jan 2017: I have not been in the area of this road scheme since the last update in May. At that point it was said that work would begin on the southern stretch in "summer" 2016. This seems to have happened, because Google have now put up imagery that was taken in August 2016 and this clearly shows work underway. See picture below. Given that this was taken five months ago, work has surely progressed since then. So if anyone is in the area and has pictures of the scheme as it looks now please do get in touch! If not, I will see if I can get a trip out at some point in the coming weeks.

Imagery of work underway on the southern part of the road on 16 August 2016. The road labelled B172 is Movilla Road. Compare to the map in the previous update below and you can clearly see the line of the road. [Google Earth].

2 May 2016: According to a news article on the BBC, Fraser Houses, who are now developing these lands, has announced that construction on new houses is to commence this summer, with the first homes completed before the end of 2016. The work is to take place at the Movilla Road end of the N20 site (the bottom right of the map above) in a development called "Rivenwood". Fraser Houses estimate it will take ten years to develop the site fully. This news is relevant in that provision of the "Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road" link is a condition of planning for these homes. However, it is important to stress that the road is not going to be built in its entirety at this stage. According to the most recent planning permission (application X/2014/0370/F) this is phase 1 and only the first part of the distributor road will be provided at this stage. Because the Planning Portal no longer (and very unhelpfully) allows me to link directly to documents relevant to the public, I have instead had to reproduce the map below. This now clarifies what the layout of the southern part of the link road will be, which includes a new roundabout on Movilla Road. Work commencing on the site does raise the hope that this road will be built sometime within the next ten years.

Map showing Phase 1 of the attractive Rivendale development and the layout of the southern part of the new link road. Movilla Road runs from bottom left to centre right. Click image for a larger version. [Map by the developer]