Belfast Telegraph

Ballyearl cremation plan faces resistance

By Rebecca Black

A proposal to build a new crematorium on the outskirts of north Belfast is also being opposed by residents.

Newtownabbey Council agreed in March to build a new crematorium in conjunction with the private sector at a site at Ballyearl on the Doagh Road.

It is set to be Northern Ireland's second crematorium, along with the existing facility at Roselawn in east Belfast.

Council chief executive Jacqui Dixon said that the crematorium development would "provide a quality, dignified service to ratepayers and other customers", and generate income for the council.

A resident who contacted the Belfast Telegraph said the people who live near the site were fiercely opposed to the plan.

He pointed out the proposed facility faces a leisure centre, is surrounded by residential housing, and is close to a nursery unit and two schools, and also voiced concern about the additional traffic a crematorium could bring.

The resident was one of many who attended a recent meeting about the plan and said they were told the estimated number of cremations that would take place at the site would initially start at 700 each year.

"The infrastructure in the area would not be able to cope with the volume of traffic that the crematorium would bring," he said.

"Newtownabbey Council were unable to respond to any concerns regarding emissions and health concerns.

"Whilst I accept that there is a demand for more crematoria in Northern Ireland, this site is simply not suitable. It is in a residential area with schools and nurseries close by."

Newtownabbey councillor Billy Webb insisted the crematorium was a necessity for the area.

"In Newtownabbey and Antrim we are running out of burial space," he said. "We are faced with having to not just look at additional burial space but looking at provision of a crematorium.

"We have done a lot of work to establish what the need for a crematorium would be and we are satisfied that there is a need.

"We have land that is suitable for it. It'll obviously be going out to planning and people will have an opportunity to give their view on it. But the council are very aware that this is something that needs to be dealt with very sensitively.

"The positioning, landscaping and access are all factors that we will be taking into account in the design."

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