Residents in a Bangor housing development say that a major new bonfire is being imposed on their community by outsiders.
It has been built adjacent to the Willowbrook Road.
A resident who declined to be named said they were frightened that this would now become an annual event.
“It was placed by people from outside our community who arrived by cars,” he said.
“They applied for a grant but were refused based upon the amount of complaints.”
UDA and RHC flags have been put up nearby.
“This is a private housing area and there has never been a bonfire here before.”
The bonfire is 15 metres away from a gas pipeline, five metres from the road and 10-15 metres from the nearest house, he said.
Chief Inspector Gerry McGrath said that whilst not the lead organisation on bonfires, the PSNI understands it has a role to play and is engaged in conversations with other statutory organisations. “The PSNI will fully investigate any complaints of criminal behaviour in relation to breach of the peace, or allegations of anti-social behaviour or disorder in relation to bonfires,” he said.
Ards and North Down Council said the bonfire is on Housing Executive land. “This site is not part of the council’s bonfire management programme,” a spokeswoman said. Council officers are working with relevant groups to address the issue, she added.
The Housing Executive said it had no prior notification about the bonfire. It sought assurances staff would be safe if they removed it, but none were given so staff cannot remove it. It has asked community representatives to restrict the bonfire size - and had it moved following talks with Phoenix Gas. The executive is monitoring the site and will remove litter and tyres.