Belfast Telegraph

Friday 28 November 2014

Towering Twelfth bonfire in Ballyduff estate to be dismantled and downsized over safety fears

A bonfire in the Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey during the run-up to the July 12 parades
A bonfire in the Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey during the run-up to the July 12 parades
A bonfire in the Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey during the run-up to the July 12 parades
A bonfire in the Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey during the run-up to the July 12 parades
A bonfire in the Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey during the run-up to the July 12 parades.
A bonfire in the Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey during the run-up to the July 12 parades. Pic: Colm Lenaghan
A bonfire in the Cloughfern estate in Newtonabbey
FLASHBACK 2012
A man climbs one of the biggest 11th night bonfires at New Mossley on the outskirts of Belfast
Ballee Estate bonfire 11th July 2012
Girls enjoying a bonfire on Mount Collier street in North Belfast
Men building a bonfire on the Donegal Road at the entrance gates of Belfast's City Hospital.Date: Wednesday 11th July 2012
Young boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road
Youths play around an unlit bonfire close to Roden Street 11th July 2012
The finishing touches are applied to the Belvoir Bonfire ahead of the 11th night celebrations.
Bonfire night in north Belfast. Picture submitted by Conor Dunn
12/7/2012. A loyalist youth plates his flute at the Sandy Row 11th night bonfire as the 12th of July celebrations began at midnight across the province. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
12/7/2012. The tower of crates crashes down at the Sandy Row 11th night bonfire as the 12th of July celebrations began at midnight across the province. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
12/7/2012. A loyalist youth sets fire to the Sandy Row 11th night bonfire as the 12th of July celebrations began at midnight across the province. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
12/7/2012. Young Jack MacDonald pictured at the Sandy Row 11th night bonfire as the 12th of July celebrations began at midnight across the province. Picture Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.
The Castlemara Bonfire in Carrickfergus
Evan Dalton aged 13 stands on top of the Bonfire in Sunnylands, Carrickfergus
The bonfire in the Shankill Estate which is one of the biggest in Belfast
The finishing touches are applied to the Belvoir Bonfire ahead of the 11th night celebration
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Loyalist Shankill Road
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Loyalist Shankill Road
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Loyalist Shankill Road
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road
Boys prepare the bonfire on the Shankill Road

A controversial bonfire that led to major safety concerns is to be taken down.

At 66ft high and made up of thousands of pallets and tyres, this monster bonfire has now been branded too big to light.

The massive 66ft-high structure, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, was built using thousands of wooden pallets and car tyres in the loyalist Ballyduff estate in Newtownabbey.

The bonfire, erected on Housing Executive land, will now be relocated to another site and reduced in size.

Residents living close to the huge pyre had spoken of their fears about the impact the structure — which was twice the size of nearby houses — would have on properties when set alight on July 11.

During a multi-agency meeting yesterday it was agreed to take the bonfire down.

It is understood representatives from Newtownabbey Borough Council and the Housing Executive attended the meeting.

A date for the work has yet to be confirmed but it is hoped it will begin within days.

One Ballyduff resident, who did not want to be named, told the Belfast Telegraph it was the “best possible outcome”.

He said: “It wasn’t a case of anyone taking a side or winning this. It was just to try and find a good solution for everyone which was achieved. It will be on a smaller scale, without the tyres, and not in front of anyone’s house. At this late stage in the game we know we couldn’t get a new permanent site but as a solution at the minute this is the best outcome we could ask for — for everyone.

“Credit where credit is due to the bonfire collectors for listening to us.”

A meeting involving residents and statutory agencies is scheduled to take place in September to begin a process to find a permanent site for the bonfire.

Loyalist community worker Phil Hamiliton described it as a “positive move”. He said: “The bonfire collectors agreed to downsize as per Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service advice and guidelines.

“I would like to think by the end of the week there will be some movement on the issue.

“This was about the community settling the issue and this is a very positive outcome.”

Environment Minister Alex Attwood welcomed the development.

He added: “To help all of this was one of the reasons why I made an offer to use my powers and deploy DoE resources.

“I have informed the council that my offer stands and will work with the council on all of this.”

- VICTORIA O’HARA

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