We quite rightly complain about inappropriate over development in the Borders. Paxton is an example. So is St.Boswells. But in Norn Iron the situation is much worse. The image above shows an overview of Newcastle, Co Down.(Enlarge if you can take it) Up to 40 years ago it was a pretty (well, fairly) little sea side town lining Dundrum Bay. Basically a long main street from the harbour to the Slieve Donard hotel with a shallow 'suburban' area stretching a few hundred yards inland at its thickest. The population remained constant at about 3,000 throughout my childhood and into my twenties. Most of what you see in the picture excluding the right hand bay side area was green and unbuilt. Now it is urban scrawl at its worst.
The other image is a shift to the North West. This is what remains of the 'green belt'and at the present rate of development will be gobbled up when all the 'infill' sites within the present town boundaries are exhausted. All that can save Newcastle and Castlwellan meeting in a muddle and mess of (often very low quality) new housing will be the establishment of the Mournes National Park. Newcastle is to be within the Park boundaries and some of the developers are fighting hard to exclude the town as a likely restraint on more overdevelopment and with the risk that higher building standards will be enforced for new dwellings within the park.
It is not as if the new houses are for local people on low incomes. They are generally top of the market pretentious villas and in many cases are second homes for the well heeled from Belfast and indeed from south of the border.And hopefully a Nationmal Park will limit the number of unsitely caravan parks. Probably 5 times as many as Berwick. Sir Morrisons would do well here but they have abandoned the old Safeways stores they took over with their merger. This is Tesco country.