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 Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road ssection
Whole road could be completed within ten years - as of May 2016
Apr 2024 - About 850 metres now open at north end
Oct 2022 - Work began on the Bangor Road to Donaghadee Road section
Unknown - to be funded by private developers
See Also

General area map - Google Maps

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:


17 Apr 2024: The southern end of this road (Rivenwood) continues to take shape, with about 850 metres now built at that end, almost exactly half its distance to Donaghadee Road. The image below was taken in February 2024 and shows the current terminus of the road. With thanks to Keith Nash who monitors the area nicely. A reminder that the road is being built in separate sections, with the other one advancing east from the Bangor Road at Beverly Garden Village. We're still far from the whole road being completed, but we're perhaps 40% of the way there.

Road ending abruptly at a building site,
                          with open ground to the left and a new house
                          on the right.
Current terminus of Rivenwood Boulevard as seen on 21 February 2024 [Keith Nash]

9 Feb 2024: This update is to share a few photos of the new junction on the A21 Bangor Road at Beverley Garden Village, what will eventually be the northern terminus of this link road. The signalised junction opened about six weeks ago and so it far seems to have gone smoothly. With thanks to Keith Nash for sharing these.

View along a road towards traffic signals
                          with two straight on lanes and one turn left
                          filter lane.
View south with Bangor behind the camera and Newtownards ahead on 7 Feb 2024. The new link road is on the left, with traffic signals in place. A turn-left filter lane has been added. [Keith Nash]

View towards a T-junction on a
                          dual-carriageway with new traffic signals.
View north with Bangor ahead and Newtownards behind the camera  on 7 Feb 2024. The new link road is on the right, with traffic signals in place. A turn-right lane has been added in the central reservation. Same view as the photo on 30 Aug 2023 below. [Keith Nash]
View from a traffic island along a new
                          road with no lane markings yet painted.
View along the first section of the new road from the A21 junction on 7 Feb 2024. No lanes have been painted yet. 36 houses are being built here in phase 1 with 12 on sale. [Keith Nash]
View from the centre of a road towards a
                          T-junction with a dual-carriageway about 100
                          metres ahead and traffic signals
View west from the new road towards the new junction with the A21 on 7 Feb 2024. The traffic island ahead is the same one shown in the previous image. [Keith Nash]

4 Jan 2024: A very brief update to say that the traffic signals on the new junction on the A21 Bangor Road came into operation on Wednesday, 20 December 2023. This will allow safe access to the new housing at that end of the scheme, to be known as Beverly Garden Village. I haven't got photos yet but will aim to. With thanks to K Nash.

30 Aug 2023: Work on the new junction on the A21 Bangor Road has progressed over the summer, with traffic currently coned down to one lane with a 40 speed limit. The photos below were taken today and show what looks very much like a signalised junction being built. Work on the new road itself hasn't advanced much, but as new houses are now going up close to the junction, it's likely that the first short section of the road will be needed soon.

Two lanes coned to one with construciton
                          vehicles opposite.
Pic 1: View north along the A21, with the future road heading to the right where the diggers are. Part of the central reservation has been reconstructed to form a right-turn lane. Note on the extreme left a new build-out of kerbs onto the hard shoulder. This would be quite a dangerous setup without traffic signals, implying a traffic signal column will be placed there. 30 Aug 2023. [Wesley Johnston]
Looking across two lanes coned down to
                          one. A new right-turn lane is visible in the
                          central reservation. Building site beyond.
Pic 2: View east across the A21 along the line of the new road, 30 Aug 2023. The new right-turn lane is visible in the foreground. On the new road itself there is a new traffic island which will likely separate the two directions of traffic, or possibly separate a left-turn filter lane for traffic heading south. The road base of the new road is taking shape, but only for about 100 metres at this point in time. Some new houses are being built off frame to the right of the shot. [Wesley Johnston]

17 May 2023: Work has been ongoing over the past six months on the Donaghadee Road to Bangor Road section of the new road, starting at the Bangor Road end. After the site was cleared, heaving excavation work got underway to lower the height of the whole site to the level of Bangor Road, as shown in the photograph below. The excavation has been taken right down into the underlying rock which is a major undertaking. Works are due to get underway over the summer on the new junction with the A21 Bangor Road, which I suspect is to be signalised. The general area plan can be seen in the previous update below.

View across the A21 with excavators in
                          the distance and bare rock visible.
View across the A21 Bangor Road on 11 May 2023, showing clearance works for the western end of the new road. The whole site has been lowered down into the bed rock. The A21 here is a dual-carriageway, and the new junction may feature traffic signals. [Wesley Johnston]

14 Oct 2022: Six years after work began on the southern part of this new road (Movilla Road to Donaghadee Road) work finally seems to be getting underway on the second section of this road (Donaghadee Road to Bangor Road). As this scheme is developer-led (i.e. developers build and pay for it) this new phase is being built by the developers of the Beverley Garden Village site, a plan of which is included below. So far the works have been site clearance on the site generally, but as the new road is essential to the plan it will need to be provided along with the houses. With thanks to Darren Mackey for letting me know about this.

Proposed layout of Beverley Garden Village showing the section of the new road from Bangor Road to Doanghadee Road, where a roundabout seems to be anticipated. It's not clear how the new road will link to the Bangor dual-carriageway but traffic signals are plausible if the road generates a lot of traffic. [From scheme developer]

2 Mar 2022: The new road continues its slow advance as the developer adds more houses. About 800 metres of the road between Movilla Road and Donaghadee Road is now either completed or underway, all at the Movilla Road end. The road is appearing on Google Maps named Rivenwood Boulevard/Rivenwood Road, but I am not sure if this the "official" name which has to be agreed by Ards & North Down Borough Council. Work began 6 years ago, at which point it was suggested that the whole road could be open within 10 years. This seems very unlikely now, unless the pace of development increases rapidly. Certainly the Covid pandemic will have delayed matters a bit. The developer is currently working on Phase 2, and after this is completed will extend the road further to the north-west as part of phase 3. However phase 4 will be at the Donaghadee Road end, so that will require part of the other end of the new road to be built. Phase 5 will close the gap between phases 3 and 4 and hence connect the two ends of the new road together. If the current rate of construction is maintained, then this wouuld be sometime around 2028. The image below is the most recent Google Earth image, showing the road and associated (Phase 2) housing as it was in spring 2021.

Aerial view of Rivenwood Newtownards

Aerial shot of the new link road taken on 24 April 2021 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]

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]