New borough of Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon is fast becoming a leading economic force
IT'S just over two years since the councils of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon came together to form the second largest local authority in
The new enlarged council brought together a unique tapestry of contrasts: ancient-modern, urban-rural, industrial-agricultural, waterways-roads and railways. And it was these differences that helped set it apart from anywhere else in Northern Ireland and continues to offer exciting opportunities for the future.
From its inception, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council was clear on its mission, on what it wants to achieve and how it will deliver.
Energised, ambitious and forward-thinking, the now well established council continues to deliver on its mission to ‘Prosper the Place, Serve the People and Strengthen our Position' to ensure that each city, town, village and rural area realises its full potential as a ‘place of choice' for living, working, visiting and investing.
With 205,000 residents and almost 8,000 businesses, Armagh City, Banbridge& Craigavon Borough Council boasts a total workforce of 123,000 and is home to some of Northern Ireland's largest and most successful companies including Moy Park, Tayto, Fane Valley, Irwin's, Almac, Turkington's and Wilson's.
Strategically positioned on the main east/west and north/south economic corridors, the region is supported by high quality road and rail links to both Northern Ireland and the Republic.
Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Council employs around 1,400 full- and part-time employees and is led by 41 elected members.
With a wide and diverse range of departmental responsibilities including new planning powers, building control, community planning, economic development, environmental health, environmental services, tourism, arts and culture and underpinned by key support functions the council continues to deliver outstanding public services for the benefit of all its citizens, businesses and visitors.
The council's number one priority is to proactively build the economic prosperity of the area by supporting business development, growth and entrepreneurship.
Two years on, and it seems that the new borough is fast becoming the leading economic force in Northern Ireland.
Roger Wilson, chief executive of Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, says: “As the second largest council area in Northern Ireland, both in terms of population size and gross value added, which stands at around 10 per cent, the borough is showing that it is punching above its weight.
"Despite the challenges of the recent recession, the area now boasts a vibrant and growing economic sector and the council continues to work closely with both local and international businesses to further develop the economy, increase employment and skills and attract investment.”
Looking to the future, the council has ambitious plans that include a £30 million investment in leisure facilities and the redevelopment of Armagh Gaol into a boutique five-star hotel to name a few.
Overall its strategy is to raise the area's profile and to get people to recognise that investing in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon is not only good for the borough but for the Northern Ireland economy.
It is clear that the future is bright for the borough, and with its determined councillors and talented workforce, Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough has sound foundations to deliver its ambitions and achieve its exciting vision for the future.