County Armagh

‘Mark Two’ New Town – Designated 26 July 1965

The first New Town in Northern Ireland, Craigavon, was conceived in response to the 1962 plan for the Greater Belfast region, and was to be a linear regional town that included the existing towns of Lurgan and Portadown. Today, Craigavon is one of the largest urban centres in Northern Ireland, with around 70% of Craigavon Borough’s population living within Craigavon urban area (which includes Lurgan, Portadown and Central Craigavon). Its designation as a New Town has been a major influence on the scale and nature of its development and has contributed to the emergence of a strong industrial base. A number of political issues, demographic changes, some resistance to planning, and over-provision of housing have attracted some criticism and have led to undeveloped areas within the central area.

Key facts:

  • Location: 34 kilometres south west of Belfast.
  • 2011 Census population: 61,056 in 24,778 households (of the 61,056, 16,792 live within Central Craigavon, the residential area between Lurgan and Portadown).
  • Local authority: Craigavon Borough Council – from April 2015 Armagh-Banbridge-Craigavon Council under Northern Ireland’s new local government arrangements.
  • Local Plan status: Craigavon Area Plan 2010 (adopted 2004), The Craigavon Integrated Development Framework (2010) provides a framework for the Craigavon urban area.

New Town designation:

  • Designated: 26 July 1965.
  • Designated area: 2,456 hectares.
  • Intended population: 120,000 by 1981, and 180,000 by 2000 (population at designation: 61,700).
  • Development Corporation: Designated to provide a new major base for industry, a new residential settlement to reduce housing and traffic pressures in Belfast, and a service centre to contribute to the regeneration of the south and west of Northern Ireland. The masterplan envisaged Craigavon as a single linked regional city, including Portadown, Lurgan, and the New Town to be developed between them at Brownlow. Development Corporation wound up 1 October 1973.

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

Council website:

Information about regeneration:

Local museums and archives:

Craigavon Museum Services:

Craigavon New Town Archives:

Photo credits:  Wacko911, Wikimedia Commons