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UVF-linked group reaches agreement to move Belfast bonfire away from homes

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The bonfire built at the Bloomfield Walkway in 2014

The bonfire built at the Bloomfield Walkway in 2014

The bonfire built at the Bloomfield Walkway in 2014

A contentious bonfire in east Belfast will be moved so that it does not endanger homes, a loyalist group has announced.

The East Belfast Community Initiative (EBCI), which is linked to the terrorist UVF, said an agreement had been reached with bonfire builders at Bloomfield Walkway to move it to a safer area.

The move came after DUP councillor George Dorrian intervened to help de-escalate tensions after bonfire material was stored at a car park off the Upper Newtownards Road.

The EBCI said the bonfire will move away from the area to a "safe space".

It also said the height of the pyre will not endanger any homes.

EBCI spokesman Jamie Bryson said: "This is another positive local agreement and once again demonstrates the productivity of self-regulation.

"No unionist worth their salt is ever going to be regulated in their cultural expression by statutory agencies.

"Self-regulation in order to advance our core purpose of enhancing and protecting unionist cultural expression is the only way to resolve contentious issues."

In July 2015 the bonfire forced 50 families to flee their homes at Chobham Street.

The following year a play park was moved to facilitate the bonfire and houses were boarded up before the Eleventh Night.

Amazing bird's eye view photos of bonfires [Photos] Close

William Young used a drone to take this remarkable photo of the bonfire at Sandy Row. 11/07/2017

William Young used a drone to take this remarkable photo of the bonfire at Sandy Row. 11/07/2017

Sandy Row Photo: William Young

Sandy Row Photo: William Young

Sandy Row Photo: William Young

Sandy Row Photo: William Young

Roden Street Photo: William Young

Roden Street Photo: William Young

Shankill Photo: William Young

Shankill Photo: William Young

The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening.
Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017

The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening. Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017

The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening. 
Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017

The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening. Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017

The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening.
Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017

The scene on Love Lane in Carrickfergus as the local community rebuild a bonfire after the original bonfire they build was burnt on Monday evening. Picture by Matt Mackey / presseye.com 10/07/2017

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017:  Final preparations takes place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017: Final preparations takes place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017:  Final preparations takes place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017: Final preparations takes place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017:  Final preparations take place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Pacemaker Press Belfast 11-07-2017: Final preparations take place for the Bonfire on Sandy Row in Belfast .The bonfires will be lit in loyalist areas as part of Eleventh Night celebrations on Tuesday night. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan posted this photo of one of his election posters on a bonfire and said he considers the action a hate crime.

SDLP MLA Daniel McCrossan posted this photo of one of his election posters on a bonfire and said he considers the action a hate crime.

Workmen board up windows of property beside a bonfire at the end of the Comber Greenway off Ravenscroft Avenue in east Belfast. [Photo: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com]

Workmen board up windows of property beside a bonfire at the end of the Comber Greenway off Ravenscroft Avenue in east Belfast. [Photo: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com]

Workmen board up windows of property beside a bonfire at the end of the Comber Greenway off Ravenscroft Avenue in east Belfast. [Photo: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com]

Workmen board up windows of property beside a bonfire at the end of the Comber Greenway off Ravenscroft Avenue in east Belfast. [Photo: Jonathan Porter/PressEye.com]

Masked men continue to build a bonfire at Inverary Playing Fields in Belfast. Police in Northern Ireland have warned their resources could be stretched amid growing fears of tension around the burning of Eleventh night bonfires. [Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire]

Masked men continue to build a bonfire at Inverary Playing Fields in Belfast. Police in Northern Ireland have warned their resources could be stretched amid growing fears of tension around the burning of Eleventh night bonfires. [Photo credit: Liam McBurney/PA Wire]

PA

Masked men continue to build a bonfire at Inverary Playing Fields in Belfast. [Photo: PA Wire 10/07/2017]

Masked men continue to build a bonfire at Inverary Playing Fields in Belfast. [Photo: PA Wire 10/07/2017]

PA

A bonfire constructed across the road from a petrol station in Carrickfergus was set alight in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

A bonfire constructed across the road from a petrol station in Carrickfergus was set alight in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In May last year 2,500 pallets were amassed at the site.

A meeting took place between a new local community group and Belfast City Council officials.

The group asked the council to remove and store pallets until nearer to July 11.

The pallets were lifted and stored at a cost of £3,000.

But in June they were stolen from the depot they were being stored in.

Nationalists accused the council of facilitating illegal bonfires and an investigation was ordered.

The EBCI said: "There has been considerable attention on this bonfire in recent years and bonfire builders have been continuously let down by statutory agencies.

"This lack of positive statutory engagement and attempted criminalisation has led to understandable intransigence. However the East Belfast Community Initiative believes in the principle of positive self-regulation.

"Following protracted consultation with local bonfire builders and DUP councillor George Dorrian, this positive agreement has been secured. The bonfire will move away from the contentious area to a safe space and the height of the bonfire will be such that it will not endanger the homes of any members of our community."

Earlier this week the ECBI announced a new protocol for the flying of loyalist flags.

However, other parties expressed scepticism at the move, saying that it would not prevent intimidating UVF terrorist flags being flown for four months of the year.

Belfast Telegraph