Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015
District Proposals: Newtownabbey Background
The Borough of Newtownabbey lies to the north of Belfast and is bounded to the east by Belfast Lough and to the south west by the Belfast Hills. It contains the urban areas of Glengormley, Carnmoney, Monkstown, Jordanstown, Whitehouse, Greencastle and Whiteabbey hereafter referred to as Metropolitan Newtownabbey, together with the small Town of Ballyclare and a number of villages and small settlements. The prominent local landmark of Carnmoney Hill forms a green heart within Metropolitan Newtownabbey. The Lough Shore, magnificent backdrop of the Antrim Hills to the north and west and its proximity to the major employment location of Belfast City Centre make it a popular place to live.
Overspill from Belfast in the 1950’s resulted in rapid expansion of the metropolitan part of the Borough with the population increasing from 20,000 to 47,000 between 1951 and 1961. The population of Newtownabbey Borough increased from 67,000 in 1971 to 79,995 in 2001.
Average household size has decreased from 2.8 persons per household in 1991 to 2.51 persons in 2001.
In 2001 there were 36, 291 people employed in the Borough. Of the total 78% were employed within the service sector, 14% in manufacturing and 6% in construction. The unemployment rate has fallen from 6.8% in 1991 to 3.5% in 2001, lower than the Northern Ireland Average of 5%.
The main transportation corridors within the Borough are the M2/M5 and the A2 and the Belfast/Whitehead and Belfast/Ballymena rail lines which provide access to Belfast City Centre, Belfast International Airport and the Ports of Belfast and Larne. While the Borough is well provided for by public transport, most daily journeys are undertaken by private car via either the M2 and M5 or the A2.
The Borough contains a variety of habitats including semi natural grasslands, woodlands, agricultural grassland and areas of geological interest. The shoreline of Belfast Lough comprises a series of mudflats and lagoons while the outer Lough is restricted to mainly rocky shores with some small sandy bays. The Lough is an International Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Ramsar Site by regularly supporting internationally important migrating birds. Belfast Lough has been declared an international Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI).
The Borough is a popular location for recreation and maritime pursuits including sailing, jet skiing and sea fishing whilst the countryside provides opportunities for golf, angling and walking. Mossley Mill and The Valley Leisure Complex are important recreational assets in the Borough.
Metropolitan Newtownabbey is a major industrial, retail, university and residential centre with the Abbey Centre and Glengormley providing major retail functions.
In the rural part of the Borough, Ballyclare acts as a local service centre with a significant dormitory role in relation to the BMA due to its proximity to the Greater Belfast Area and has a positive image as an attractive residential environment. It has the added advantage of being located within easy travelling distance of the emerging major industrial area at Mallusk. It is situated on the lower slopes of the Six Mile Water Valley approximately 23 miles north west of Belfast City Centre.