History of Craigavon
Craigavon is usually classified as a settlement rather than as a town. It contains 12,500 people and was originally designed to connect Lurgan and Portadown but only half the originally planned work was ever completed. As a result, it stands between the aforementioned towns and is made up of mostly residential space. Work began on the settlement in 1965 and it was hoped that Craigavon, named after the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland James Craig, would be a ‘new city’ in Northern Ireland and would match the achievement of Milton Keynes in the UK. The idea was to link Lurgan and Portadown and create a single city.
However, the project was plagued by problems from the very outset. One of the biggest mistakes was to create huge areas of housing with techniques and materials that had not yet passed sufficiently stringent health and safety tests. To the dismay of the planners, when these houses were tested, it was found that insulation, durability and other elements were not up to standard.
The whole reason why Craigavon was planned in the first place was because of predictions that the population of Northern Ireland would dramatically increase meaning that these new settlements were necessary. It was also hoped that the area would spread some development away from Belfast (which is located just 21 miles away). However, it transpired that the population projections were completely wrong. The region’s population did not increase at the expected level which meant that Craigavon was essentially redundant. Investment in Northern Ireland dried up severely in the 1960s and emigration increased.
As a result of the above factors, only half of the original plan was completed. Also, some of the buildings were well below established health and safety standards and had to be demolished. Others remained unoccupied and eventually, these too were demolished. In the early 1980s, it was possible to drive through the settlement and see a host of empty housing estates.
As a result, Craigavon the city did not achieve its objective. It is seen as a residential area between the towns of Lurgan and Portadown though the latter town has benefited greatly from the settlement. When Craigavon was first built, it had a host of substandard buildings but things have taken a significant turn for the better in recent years. The lower quality housing estates are virtually gone and this has increased the aesthetic property of Craigavon which is filled with beautiful parkland and stunning lakes.
The gap between Craigavon and the towns of Lurgan and Portadown is geographically smaller than it has ever been, making it a terrific location for those looking to live near established towns without having to contend with a massive population. The population density of Craigavon is extremely low which means there is plenty of available accommodation for those willing to make the short commute to Lurgan or Portadown, towns which have numerous job openings available. Although Craigavon failed in its original objective, there are signs that the project may yet bear fruit.
Also check out Working in Craigavon and Living in Craigavon, or view our latest Craigavon Jobs.