Councils to explore partnership to identify new cemetery sites

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has agreed to engage with a neighbouring council over the search for a new cemetery.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is seeking a site for future burial provision.

There are no new burial plots available at Carnmoney Cemetery with committals only possible in existing family-owned plots.

Land at Ashley Road in Newtownabbey has been considered previously but interest in the location did not progress due to the cost of the land and “access issues from the A8”.

Carnmoney Cemetery. Picture: Google

The potential to “work in partnership” with other local authorities to identify a site is being explored. The authority has also approached Belfast City Council to see if it has “made any progress in identifying any suitable sites for a new cemetery”.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough has indicated that the construction of a new £6m crematorium at Doagh Road in Newtownabbey is at “an advanced stage” and is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The authority has confirmed plans to proceed with a columbarium for the storage of ashes on the site of the old cemetery house at Carnmoney and at the crematorium.

In May, Mid and East Antrim council approved the development of a new £2.1m cemetery on a 15-acre site at Old Glenarm Road in Larne. It is expected to be able to facilitate almost 4,000 plots with capacity for 25 years.

McGarel Cemetery also at Old Glenarm Road is already at capacity and Greenland Cemetery in Craigyhill will reach capacity in nine years.

The authority is also is considering a location at Trooperslane outside Carrickfergus for  provision.

However,  councillors were told recently that an objector is to lodge a legal case against the development in Larne.

A report presented to Mid and East Antrim’s Direct Services Committee said that a “three-month hold is now in place to allow an objector to lodge a legal cause against the development”.

“DfI (Department for Infrastructure) is also assessing whether the application should be referred to it for a determination.”

Meanwhile, councillors reacted angrily to a letter from the Department over the recent decision by the planning committee to approve the application without prior notification.

The committee was told that the Department has the “right to intervene”.

A letter to the council said: “It is the Department’s view that it would be appropriate to notify the Department in relation to the application by the council for the construction of a municipal cemetery.”

The correspondence was blasted by former planning committee chair, Ballymena Alderman Audrey Wales who described it as “an insult to the members of this planning committee that they can’t make a proper decision”.

Larne Lough Alliance Councillor Robert Logan described it as “political interference”.

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New 4,000 plot Larne cemetery facing legal challenge from objector, council told

Commenting on correspondence from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council at a meeting of Mid and East Antrim council on Monday evening, Larne Lough DUP Councillor Gregg McKeen said: “I think we should be engaging with Antrim and Newtownabbey to see what is potentially there instead of dismissing it straight away.”