‘Ballyearl isn’t right site for crematorium’

Cllr Stephen Ross.

Cllr Stephen Ross.

A local councillor has voiced concerns about a proposed crematorium being constructed on the Doagh Road in Ballyearl.

The move came after a spokesperson for the council indicated that the local authority is nearing completion of the procurement process to appoint a private sector operator for the site.

However, Cllr Stephen Ross has said the proposed site in Ballyearl is the ‘wrong location’ for a new crematorium. The DUP representative said: “I don’t have any issues about a new crematorium being built, but I feel the decision to construct it in Ballyearl is the wrong one. I’ve been contacted by residents who don’t want this facility in the area. I don’t think anyone has taken their views properly into consideration.”

In a statement, a council spokesperson said: “The proposed crematorium will be built on council owned land directly opposite Ballyearl Arts and Leisure Centre. This land is not part of the Central Services Depot site. The council is nearing the completion of the procurement process to appoint a private sector operator and therefore the build process is expected to be 18 months.

“Outline planning permission was approved by the Department of the Environment on February 3 2015 to the legacy Newtownabbey Borough Council for a crematorium facility and ancillary development on lands immediately opposite Ballyearl Arts and Leisure Centre. Legacy Newtownabbey refuse collection and cleansing service will continue to be delivered from CSD, opposite Ballyearl. Council has made no decision as yet on alignment of the refuse collection and cleansing service.”

The council hopes the Public Private Partnership arrangement will provide a quality service for local ratepayers, and generate income through an annual rent and a share of the money earned from cremations.

Residents living near the proposed crematorium site have voiced concerns about increased traffic and potential pollution. They also fear the development could lead to a drop in property prices and destroy the local community.

The public have also been invited to have their say on a proposed cemetery at Ashley Road. There will be two pre-planning public consultation events in Ballyearl Arts and Leisure Centre. These will be on October 12 from 12:30pm-2pm and October 19 from 6;30pm-8pm.