Plans could ‘considerably impact Hospice services’

The Northern Ireland Children's Hospice on the O'Neill Road borders the Valley Park and provides care and respite services to children and young people with life-limiting illnesses. Charity officials have urged the council ro consider alternative locations for the new cemetery.

The Northern Ireland Children's Hospice on the O'Neill Road borders the Valley Park and provides care and respite services to children and young people with life-limiting illnesses. Charity officials have urged the council ro consider alternative locations for the new cemetery.

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THE Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice has said proposals to site a new cemetery next door to its O’Neill Road headquarters were “likely to have a considerable impact on the integrity of its services”.

Council representatives have met with Children’s Hospice management to discuss a proposal for an 18-acre site in the Valley Park next door to Horizon House which provides care and respite services to children and young people with life-limiting illnesses.

It is thought that the Hospice ethos of “living life to the full” would be seriously undermined if a cemetery is built within the park grounds and it would be “unlikely” that the Hospice will support the plans.

Following the meeting, Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice Chief Executive Dame Judith Hill said: “Newtownabbey Borough Council officers have visited Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice to give an update on their plans for a new cemetery.

“The council representatives were informed that current proposals for a new cemetery are likely to have a considerable impact on the integrity of the services available at Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice located on the O’Neill Road.

“Due note was taken of the concerns expressed and council officers are understood to have agreed to explore further options to minimise the impact.

“Planning is at an early, exploratory stage, so Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice will reserve its position until there is greater clarity on the proposals, but would urge that all other potential sites be explored as part of the planning process.”