Northern Ireland

Craigavon 'most desirable place to live' - Royal Mail

Craigavon Image copyright Armagh Banbridge Craigavon Council

Craigavon is the most desirable place to live in Northern Ireland, according to a Royal Mail study.

The study identified the postcodes across the UK with the best work-life balance.

Factors considered included schools, access to green spaces, employment prospects, working hours, affordable housing and average commuting times.

Coming out top in NI was BT65 covering Craigavon, Enniskeen, Drumgor and Tullygally.

Another Craigavon postcode, BT64, also won the accolade in 2015.

The research was carried out for the Royal Mail by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (Cebr).

NI's Milton Keynes?

It analysed statistical data to reach its conclusions - researchers did not visit any of the areas and residents were not asked for their views.

The new town of Craigavon was created in County Armagh in the 1960s, with its design owing much to modernist architecture and town planning.

Its design has often drawn comparisons with Milton Keynes.

Grants were offered to encourage people to relocate to Craigavon from Belfast.

However, the town would later be criticised for being a "soulless" urban space notorious for its many roundabouts.

The two postcodes adjacent to BT65 finished in the top five of the Royal Mail study - with BT64 (Craigavon-Lurgan) finishing third and BT66 (Lurgan) coming in at fourth.

Rounding out the top five ion Northern Ireland were BT16, Dundonald, in second place and BT10, Finaghy in south Belfast, in fifth.

'Quality mix'

Olga Murtagh, strategic director at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, said: "We are delighted to hear that three out of the top five places to live in Northern Ireland are in the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough.

"Craigavon residents are very well served by roads and infrastructure, an exceptional network of pedestrian and cycle routes, access to retail, entertainment and a quality mix of urban and rural spaces that are welcoming to all.

"All of this is in addition to a wide range of services and facilities on their doorstep including an acute hospital, quality education and diverse leisure provision.

"Craigavon's 'New Town' success - both as a residential area and as a base for industry - is down to the visionary planners who designed the area 52 years ago, and there is still scope to improve the form and function of this urban area through regeneration."

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