SWARD: Maghera Integrated Village Plans

14 February 2012 | blog, frameworks, neighbourhood, small towns, strategy, working with communities

Castledawson Aerial View
We were appointed by Magherafelt District Council as part of a team led by Venturei Network to develop a series of proposals for rural settlements including Upperlands, Castledawson, Culnady, Tamlaght and Maghera – the Maghera Integrated Village Plans.

SWARD is one of seven clusters in Northern Ireland selected by the Department for Agriculture and Rural Development to implement Axis 3 of the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007 – 2013. This aims to improve the quality of life and encourage diversification of economic activity through a range of measures in these areas. Each integrated village plan was to consider the needs and issues facing the community and in association with the public and private sectors identify and prioritise a range of actions which will directly address those needs or issues. The plans were required to provide a strategic framework to coordinate specific development actions for the village areas and their communities over a five year period whilst also giving a broad vision for the long-term development of the areas.

There was a clear focus on environmental improvement in this work – building facelifts, tree planting and open space facilities combined with a fresh approach to dealing with traffic in these settlements through contemporary measures such as shared surfaces and blurring the divisions between pedestrian and vehicle areas. The priority was to assemble projects which could be implemented relatively easily and in the short term.


Willie Miller, the founder and principal of WMUD, died on 12th January 2021 after a short illness. Willie was a much-loved husband and father and had a huge circle of friends  and professional colleagues. He was a multi-talented urban designer whose work had a major impact on hundreds of cities, towns and neighbourhoods throughout the UK and over the past 25 years. He also worked in Ireland, the Channel Islands and the USA.

Ines Triebel has been with WMUD since 2005, and she will continue the practice, drawing on her skills as a planner and designer. Ines has worked on place strategies, masterplans, policy guidance, regeneration and development frameworks, and the design of public realm and streetscape projects. She has extensive experience of working with communities, including charrettes.

WMUD will continue its long-standing strategic partnerships with Benton Scott-Simmons, Nick Wright Planning, Kevin Murray Associates, icecream architecture, yellow book and others. Please direct inquiries to Ines at [email protected] or contact any of the practices named above.