Belfast Telegraph

Public car park in Belfast closed due to bonfire preparations

By Sue Doherty

A public car park in East Belfast has been unofficially closed to the public, as preparations are made for a bonfire.

The bonfire site at a car park on Ravenscroft Avenue, just off the Upper Newtownards Road, is a short distance from a site where council staff removed pallets and put them into council owned storage three months ago.

Speaking to BBC Newsline on Wednesday night, one of the bonfire makers, who was not named, said: "We had an agreement with the council, that they were going to store the pallets in a safe place. And now, because the agreement was broke [sic], we just thought, 'well, they've let us down, so we'll let them ones down."

Graffiti painted on a wall at the car park reads: "Betrayed by the council".

When questioned as to whether the public car park was the best location for a bonfire, he said that the bonfire had been there "for many years" and "the whole community like it here".

The young man added: "It's not going to move. Nothing's going to come in the way or stop us from putting it here."

As for the safety of houses and residents in the area, he said: "The fire brigade will always be on standby. They were last year. They know the risks.

"We can't get the blame off it, because the council had the agreement and it's part of our culture."

An investigation is currently underway into how pallets came to be stored at a council facility.

Councillor John Kyle of the PUP told the Belfast Telegraph that he is aware of the issue.

He said: "Concerns have been raised by local residents. It is a very difficult issue and conversations are taking place to see if we can find a constructive resolution."

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