County Antrim

‘Mark Two’ New Town – Designated 7 July 1966

Antrim was the smallest of the towns recommended for expansion in the 1962 plan for the Greater Belfast region, but the decision by global paints and chemicals producer British Enkalon (now Akzo Nobel) to locate there in 1961 made it an obvious candidate for development. Today, Antrim is the largest town in Antrim Borough and the largest town close to Belfast International Airport. It lies on the intersection of the key Belfast-Derry/Londonderry and northern transport corridors. Its location makes it attractive to investors, and it is to be regenerated as a counter-magnet to the Belfast Metropolitan Area. Economic drivers revolve around construction, distribution, transport and hospitality. Antrim also offers tourism potential associated with its built and landscape heritage and proximity to Lough Neagh and its tributary rivers.

Key facts:

  • Location: 21 kilometres north west of Belfast, 18 kilometres south of Ballymena.
  • 2011 Census population: 22,926, in 9,393 households.
  • Local authority: Antrim Borough Council (from April 2015 Antrim and Newtownabbey District Council under Northern Ireland’s new local government arrangements).
  • Local Plan status: Antrim Area Plan 1984-2001 (adopted 1989), Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015. Identified as a main hub in the Northern Ireland Regional Development Strategy 2035.

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 7 July 1966. The whole of the rural district of Antrim was designated.
  • Designated area: 56,254 hectares.
  • Intended population: 30,000 (population at designation: 7,300).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to boost the growth of Antrim and neighbouring villages and to redevelop to modern standards. The Antrim and nearby Ballymena New Towns were overseen by a single Antrim and Ballymena Development Commission, but developed as separate entities to reflect their differing characteristics. The Ministry developed the masterplan, with guidance from a steering group of the county and rural councils. Antrim has, overall, progressed faster than Ballymena. Development Corporation wound up 1 October 1973.

Figures taken from Antrim ‘5 minute’ fact sheet – TCPA New Towns and Garden Cities, Lessons for Tomorrow research, available here.

Council website:

Information about regeneration:

Photo credits: Albert Bridge/

Updated: 1st April, 2020