Craigavon, where does it fit in, what happened to the 1960's vision?...
and a senior police officer gunned down and 'chronic' anti-social behaviour in Armagh estate
Last week we reported that the Moylinn East Footbridge in Craigavon is to be removed over the weekend of Thursday to Monday, March 16-20. The works will see the existing footbridge removed, with an alternative walking and cycling link being provided, whilst a permanent solution is developed. So for today's newsletter I thought I’d take a closer look at Craigavon and its roots. Let me induce a thought process…
With almost 40 kilometres of “black paths” and seven roundabouts what became of the 1960s vision to build a “new city for the west"? To stem the over-population of Belfast in 1965 the largely unused area between Lurgan and Portadown became known as Craigavon - envisioned as the next large city of Northern Ireland. Large scale social housing was erected to attract families to the area but this plan was flawed from the beginning and encountered problems and over half of these dwellings were eventually demolished in the 1980’s.
Today what lies between neighbouring Portadown and Lurgan is a clunky awkward road which makes it virtually impossible to drive in a straight line for miles with some of the famous roundabouts just over 100 metres apart.
Last year we spoke to one resident Maureen Hilley - who with her husband Eddie -moved to the ‘New City’ with their five children, the youngest aged just one, back in 1979. Maureen told us of a life lived well in Craigavon where the prominent resident is now deep set in community life.
Fast forward to 2023, Craigavon city is still a non-starter, Portadown and Lurgan are still very structurally divided and the once great vision of a former Prime Minister is the butt of many a joke. But surely Craigavon has had the last laugh! After all, now the home of one of the largest shopping complexes in the country Rushmere Shopping Centre, which now houses what we all cried out for - Primark - add to that South Lake Leisure Centre with its Olympic size swimming pool, the ongoing construction of the new Lismore Comprehensive School, some of the finest homes in the borough, Marlborough Retail Park and even its own cinema, Craigavon should be presented with its own overcoming adversity award! Born prematurely, survived many a bump in the road, been round the block a time or two, and now one of the most thriving areas in our Borough. Craigavon we salute you!
An off-duty PSNI officer shot in Co Tyrone on Wednesday evening has been named as Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell. Detective Caldwell, who was shot as he placed footballs in the boot of his car, was accompanied by his young son. DCI Caldwell was initially the lead detective investigating the murder of Lurgan mum-to-be Natalie McNally in the lead up to Christmas. He is also the lead the detective in the murder of Shane Whitla in Lurgan.
A resident in an Armagh city estate has said that the area and its periphery are being plagued with “chronic” anti-social issues, with police having been called on multiple occasions.
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Determined South Armagh girl Eimear continuing to defy odds
JJ McArdle funeral director building up for sale, with move to new premises planned
Raffle for heifer donated by Middletown priest raises £46,000 for Marie Curie
Armagh man who admitted manslaughter of neighbour spared jail
Our Tuesday newsletter created quite a stir! It seems we are all in love with our county’s treasure Armagh Gaol. Thanks to the many people who contacted our office, called in and messaged us. We always love hearing from you.
Congratulations to the team at Manor & Mill Estate Agents celebrating 2 years in business. Paul Gwynne and Philip Johnston are the property pair who believe bespoke service does not have to mean expensive.
Due to the continued success of the business the Dolphin Markethill Takeaway and Diner have an opening for a Cook with supervisory responsibilities.
Thomas Lee Dental Surgery Armagh have a requirement for a full time qualified/training Dental Nurse assist other members of the team.
McKinney Motors Moy require a highly skilled Car Mechanic to undertake all aspects of vehicle service, maintenance and repair.
Bank of Ireland Armagh require a Customer Service Advisor to join their branch banking team.
Congratulations to Christine Belshaw! You have won a pair of tickets for the cinema! Contact our office on 028 37 443 043 to claim your prize.
Sticking with topic of the ‘contentious’ Craigavon, we decided to take a look back to 1965, the year the “New City” plans were beginning to come to fruition.
On July 1, 1965 the Armagh Guardian reported that the second name in the hat was the rather whimsical ‘Neighbourly’. Perhaps a rather fitting choice for a city built to essentially join the boroughs of Lurgan and Portadown and provide the “full integration of urban and rural life”?
There was contention over the name - once agreed - which caused a stir amongst those who, let’s just say, didn’t hold Lord Craigavon in the highest regard and then there was further discord amongst landowners awaiting compensation for their vested lands.
On November 11 1965, the Armagh Guardian reported that approximately 250 ‘New City’ farmers were contemplating ‘defending homes with shotguns’ as anger arose due to what they deemed ‘inadequate compensation’, lack of ‘disturbance money’ and the ‘concerning attitude’ of the Ministry of Development.
Cost was an issue across the board. The total cost in 1965 for the Craigavon build, as reported by the Armagh Guardian, was estimated between £130 - £140 million and just to put this into perspective, that’s roughly £2,014,689,657.36 by today’s standard. So, financially, it was no mean feat.
Indeed Jane, it's fair to say Craigavon has come a long way since inception. Here's the article we ran back in August following the UK’s Favourite Parks announcement. https://www.armaghi.com/news/craigavon-city-park-crowned-as-northern-irelands-favourite-park/181164
And not forgetting Craigavon City Park/lakes having won several awards for it’s beautiful greenery and nature 🥇🍃🦦🦆🥰