It may come as a surprise to some, but maybe not to its natives – Northern Ireland’s most desirable location is Craigavon.
The Co Armagh town has been named as having Northern Ireland’s most desirable postcode in a UK-wide survey by Royal Mail.
Known for its roundabouts, leafy cycle paths and welter of housing estates, the 1960s new town may be an unexpected choice as a poll-topper, heading a five-strong list that also included Finaghy, Lurgan, Dundonald and Carrickfergus.
But the Royal Mail survey, carried out for the organisations by the Centre for Economic and Business Research, listed a plethora of benefits to living in the town. Among them, it said Craigavon had “lower than average commuting times and fewer people working over 50 hours a week”.
The town has had its difficulties, but new estates have improved the tone, and property is cheaper than those closer to Belfast, which is a short motorway drive away for commuters.
Welcoming the news, Craigavon mayor Colin McCusker said: “I’ve enjoyed living here all my life.
“I was born in 1971, and Craigavon Borough Council came into existence in 1973.
“I currently am married with two children who are being educated here as well – and who will start their families in the very near future.”
Royal Mail worked out its list of popular postcodes based on access to good schools, green spaces, employment prospects, affordable housing and average commuting times.
Bebington in Merseyside topped the list for England, while Neilston in Refrewshire led in Scotland and Morriston, near Swansea, was number one in Wales.
Steve Rooney, from Royal Mail, said: “Our study provides unique insight into the most desirable places to live and work in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, through the lens of the postcode.”
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Caption: Leafy Lurgan Park, the second largest urban park in Ireland