Ballyearl residents have accused Newtownabbey councillors of ‘forcing’ the proposed Ballyearl Crematorium development upon them in a move which they say will devalue house prices and increase traffic in the area.
Amid heated exchanges during the public meeting, one resident told council officers: “Councillors are not doing their jobs. They are going to force this on the people who put them into office.”
Another local man commented: “Home owners will suffer financially. Our houses will lose value. A lot of people will think they have to sell their house, which will destroy the community. People are already in negative equity due to the recession. They will have the choice either to stay in a property that’s not worth the money they paid for it or sell it and end up destitute. This will probably be the biggest, most modern crematorium in Northern Ireland which means that it will be the most popular. Locals are paying the price for this to be rolled out across all of Northern Ireland.”
Fears were also raised over the potential for the crematorium to dissuade other businesses, such as those in the food industry, from coming to the area. Residents added that a new crematorium was ‘not needed’ if there were only going to be three cremations per day.
In response to a query over the air quality survey undertaken between 2001 and 2004, Development Services Director Majella McAlister admitted that the council did not have ‘up-to-date data’ on air quality in Mossley.
DUP councillor Victor Robinson warned: “If the crematorium doesn’t go there we will get something-ASDA are looking for somewhere to build a warehouse.” DUP MLA Paul Girvan told those present that the way to voice their opposition was to lobby their elected representatives to ensure that they were aware of the strength of feeling in New Mossley.