Plans to construct a crematorium in Ballyearl moved a step closer as talks about a ‘collaborative arrangement’ with Belfast City Council commenced.
The Times understands the decision regarding the proposed site on the Doagh Road was made by elected representatives ‘behind closed doors’ at the March meeting of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.
Detailing the move to discuss providing the service with the Belfast authority, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “The council is continuing to progress its plans for a crematorium on the Doagh Road site.
“In March 2017, the council agreed to explore the option of entering into a collaborative arrangement with Belfast City Council to provide a new crematorium and this discussion is underway.
“The item was discussed at the council meeting in March and was ‘in confidence’.”
Commenting on the development, Alliance representative, Cllr John Blair said: “I very recently became aware of the possibility of talks with Belfast City Council. I would need to know a lot more about the short, medium and long-term implications, finance and governance arrangements, as well as the implications on local ratepayers before I can say if I support the move or not.”
Plans for the construction of a crematorium in Newtownabbey, involving a joint approach by Newtownabbey Borough Council and Belfast City Council had been suggested previously.
In January 2014, a spokesperson for Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “Belfast City Council will not at this point pursue any of the options for the development of a new crematorium with Newtownabbey Borough Council.
“Belfast City Council has agreed that a strategic outline case for the redevelopment and refurbishment of Roselawn Crematorium be developed for consideration.”
Confirming that discussions were now underway, a spokesperson from Belfast City Council said: “We are currently exploring options around future cremation and cemetery facilities.
“As part of this process, the council agreed in March 2017 that it would engage neighbouring councils in a strategic conversation to better understand needs and demand in respect of cremations and burials across Northern Ireland.”
The spokesperson added: “We have recently initiated discussions with neighbouring councils regarding our plans in relation to cemetery and cremations provision, to take into consideration the needs and plans of those neighbouring councils.”