The Ulster Grand Prix Supporters Club has met Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to hand over more than 3,000 objection letters to plans for a 96-acre cemetery at the Ulster Grand Prix circuit.
The letters will be added to several hundred others already received by the council’s planning department, making it close to 3,500 objections within just a few weeks of the initial submission of the planning application.
The Ulster Grand Prix Supporters Club and promoters of the Ulster Grand Prix and the Dundrod & District Motorcycle Club are united with many local residents in their opposition to the planned cemetery site on Quarterland Road, Dundrod, for which the only access would be via the world famous motorcycle racing circuit.
Planning consultancy Strategic Planning has said the proposed cemetery - a private facility - would bring a £35m investment and sustain up to 345 construction jobs during development, as well as six permanent jobs, and would help to address cemetery space shortages in Lisburn, Belfast and Newtownabbey.
The consultants have stressed that the cemetery would not operate on any race or practice days of the Ulster Grand Prix, but objectors fear that if the plan gets the green light, it could signal the death knell for the Ulster Grand Prix.
And their message to the council is simple: “Don’t bury the UGP.”
Des Stewart, chairman of the Ulster Grand Prix Supporters Club, said: “With a hugely successful 2016 UGP just behind us, we are heartened that race fans far and wide feel strongly enough about the impact these plans could have on this international event to submit a letter of objection to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council.
“The sheer volume of objections we have just delivered to the council demonstrates the important social, cultural and economic impact this event has and we stand by our view that were a cemetery to be built on the circuit, it would seriously endanger the future of the event.”
Responding to the concerns raised, Richard Bowman, director of Strategic Planning, stated: “There has been extensive pre-application community consultation on the cemetery proposal since August 2015.
“Ulster Grand Prix officials were consulted at an early stage, attended the public information event and received assurances that the cemetery will not operate on race or practice days of the UGP. Any planning approval would be conditioned on this basis.
“The closure to accommodate the UGP will also be part of the terms and conditions for people purchasing burial plots in the cemetery. Given these points, the UGP will be entirely unaffected by the Loughview Park Cemetery proposal at Dundrod.”