Negotiations for purchase of new Carrickfergus cemetery site approved by council

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has given the go-ahead for the purchase of almost 100 acres of land at Trooperslane outside Carrickfergus for a new cemetery.

Tuesday, 16th November 2021, 7:25 pm

The decision was reached behind closed doors at last month’s meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.

On the proposal of Knockagh DUP Councillor Peter Johnston, seconded by party colleague Cllr William McCaughey, who is the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, it was recommended that the authority instructs officers to commence negotiations with the land owner to purchase the site at Trooperslane Road.

Burial capacity at Carrick’s Victoria Cemetery, where there are 770 graves remaining, is estimated at 12 years. There were 226 burials  last year, 220 in 2019, 221 in 2018, 207 in 2017 and  216 in 2016.

Victoria Cemetery, Carrickfergus. Pic: Google

Councillors have agreed that if a purchase price cannot be negotiated, then an application to vest the land should be lodged with the Department for Communities and that they will be seeking an update on the purchase prior to any vesting application being submitted.

It is understood the local authority may be facing competition from Belfast City Council over acquisition of the 97-acre site at Trooperslane Road. Click here

Previously, Mid and East Antrim  councillors had expressed concern over the length of time that has passed since they requested the matter to be “progressed”.

Philip Thompson, the council’s operations director and acting chief executive, has reported that “substantial survey work” has now been completed at Trooperslane to establish suitability for burials.

Thirty-six acres of the site were found to be “unsuitable for burial” due to the presence of a gas pipeline and “proximity to nearby water courses”.

It is understood that a limit has been placed on the amount local authorities in Northern Ireland can pay for land.

A new £2.7m cemetery is being developed outside Larne at Old Glenarm Road adjacent to Carnfunnock Country Park which could facilitate up to 6,000 plots.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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