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Craigavon
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Craigavon

Craigavon borough
Geography
Area:
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 19th
378 km²
? %
Admin HQ: Craigavon
: GB-CGV
ONS code: 95N
Demographics
Population:
- Total (April 29, 2001)
- Density
Ranked 5th
80,671
213 / km²
Community: Protestant: 52.9%
Catholic: 44.7
Politics
Craigavon Borough Council
http://www.craigavon.gov.uk
MP: David Trimble

Craigavon is a borough in Northern Ireland, including the towns of Portadown and Lurgan. It has a population of about 80,000, and is not far from Lough Neagh. Originally, Craigavon was planned as a 'new city' on a par with the new towns that were being built in England in the 1960s. The plan was to build a large development between the neighbouring towns of Lurgan and Portadown and thus create a large urban/suburban connurbation. It was hoped that this would encourage people to move out of the crowded streets of Belfast which was attracting the large majority of development in the region - Craigavon was supposed to ensure a more even distribution of development across Northern Ireland. Critics argue that Derry/Londonderry in the North West would have been a more appropriate choice, but was excluded by the Stormont-based government for sectarian reasons. The terms of reference given to the author of the Matthews Report in 1963 stated that any development plan for Northern Ireland must concentrate development East of the River Bann (where there was a protestant majority) so as 'not to upset denominational ratios.'

Some of the most striking features of the development include the seperation of motor vehicles from pedestrians and cyclists who have their own dedicated path network, use of roundabouts instead of traffic lights at junctions, situation of self-contained shopping centres in each housing area on an evenly-distributed and planned basis, and the total seperation of industrial land-use from all other uses.

Problems began to come to light when it emerged that some large-scale housing areas had been built with materials and techniques that had not been fully tested, with the result that insulation, sound-proofing and durability were not adequate. The area's main employer, Goodyear, had a large fan-belt factory in the Silverwood industrial estate, and at the time it was Europe's largest factory. The plant failed to make money on a consistent basis, and had to close. It also emerged that the population projections for Northern Ireland upon which the project was based were wildly inaccurate, with the result that the planned development was overkill. Approximately 50% of what was planned was never built, and of what was built, nearly half of that had to be demolished after years of lying empty and derelict. It was no tuncommon to drive through Craigavon in the early 1980s and see entire housing estates and acres of housing abandoned.

Critics of single use zoning would find much to criticise in Craigavon where this type of urban planning has been used extensively. Only in the older towns is traditional town planning more prevalent.

The identity of a new city never really caught on. The name 'Craigavon' is today used by locals to refer to the rump of the housing development between Lurgan and Portadown, but the names of the old towns stubbornly live on and so does their identity.

Together with part of the district of Banbridge, it forms the Upper Bann constituency for elections to the Westminster Parliament and Northern Ireland Assembly.

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