Brownlow Development Framework, Northern Ireland
Together with lead consultants Drew Mackie Associates with Doran Consulting and Osborne King, we have been commissioned by Craigavon Borough Council in Northern Ireland to prepare a framework for the Brownlow area, providing a conceptual structure for the promotion, implementation and phasing of new development – a Brownlow Development Framework.
Brownlow is located 25 miles west of Belfast on the South Western Transport Corridor. It has direct access to the M1 Motorway and is an excellent communications hub with strategic connections to the International Airport, Dungannon and Enniskillen, Loch Neagh and Belfast itself.
The Regional Development Strategy for Northern Ireland describes Craigavon as an important hub in terms of development opportunities for job creation, a service and retail centre, and an educational and training centre.
The original vision
Brownlow was originally conceived in the 1960s as a part of the New Town of Craigavon, a concept for a linear settlement 10 miles wide and 11/2 miles wide, incorporating and linking the historic towns of Lurgan and Portadown. As well as industrial areas, a sub-regional service centre and a full complement of community and recreational facilities, two major new housing areas were proposed – Mandeville and Brownlow – which were intended to accommodate some 60,000 residents.
Today, although the infrastructure is in place, only a portion of the total vision has been realised; Brownlow houses approximately 11,000 people, but is still incomplete, and Mandeville comprises only a single small housing estate. Political and economic changes over the intervening decades have made it very unlikely that the plan conceived in the 1960s will ever be completed. New development pressures are being exerted that are changing the shape and nature of Craigavon and the objective must be to develop a new interpretation of the plan that can integrate new development whilst protecting the best features of the original vision.
The study will address particular development issues unique to Brownlow, optimise land use opportunities in terms of the development of vacant sites and the restructuring of extensive areas of green space. The study will also make proposals for the promotion of a high quality and sustainable environment, and involve the local communities in the process.