Council pays £30,000 for estate bonfire site

Newtownabbey Council
Newtownabbey Council

Newtownabbey Borough Council has agreed to spend around £30,000 on a purpose-built bonfire site in the Ballyduff estate.

The decision was taken at a council meeting on Monday night when members voted 10-7 in favour of a proposal from DUP councillor Robert Hill that the scheme proceeds, subject to agreement with the Housing Executive and local residents.

Last year fears were raised by residents after a massive bonfire consisting of thousands of tyres and pallets was built near homes.

A council spokesman said in early 2014 a survey found one-third of respondents who wanted a July 11 bonfire felt the council should acquire land from the Housing Executive, and create a bonfire site.

Alliance councillor John Blair voted against the proposal, and said the council had tried to reach an agreement – similar to ones around Guy Fawkes night in England – that organisers take responsibility for the site, materials and the event.

He said this had not happened, but the council is still going to spend £30,000 on a site on land it does not own.