‘Imminent’ talks planned in effort to limit massive east Belfast bonfire

The controversial bonfire at Chobham Street in east Belfast
The controversial bonfire at Chobham Street in east Belfast

Talks aimed at limiting the size of a huge bonfire close to properties in east Belfast are “imminent,” Jim Rodgers has said.

The Eleventh Night bonfire close to Chobham Street has been built larger than ever following a dispute between local councillors and those building the pyre.

Councillor Rodgers said he has serious concerns there could be “widespread damage and mayhem” if the fire is lit without being significantly scaled back.

In June, it emerged that Belfast City Council officers had agreed to remove a large number of pallets from the Chobham St site – and another bonfire near Sandy Row – to store them before returning them ahead of July 11.

Reports then emerged that the pallets had been removed from storage without authority and that their current location is unknown.

The east Belfast bonfire builders claim the council has broken the agreement and reacted by assembling an even greater amount of material for burning.

Cllr Rodgers said: “I am fearful that there could be widespread damage and mayhem because it’s close to houses, the community centre, a relatively new play area”.

On Monday night city councillors agreed to an investigation into the council’s involvement in the negotiations.

Cllr Rodgers a meeting between a variety of agencies and the Chobham St bonfire builders was “imminent,” and added: “I am appealing to those involved to co-operate with us.

“I can understand how angry and hurt they are, that we did not stand by the agreement – and that is unfortunate – but they themselves have a responsibility and that bonfire is far too big, both width-wise and in height, for it to be allowed to proceed.”