Northern Ireland

Bonfire tyres dumped on £40m Connswater Community Greenway

Tyres and pallets have been stockpiled along a public path on the greenway
Image caption Tyres and pallets have been stockpiled along a public path on the greenway

Belfast City Council is coming under pressure to remove bonfire material which has been dumped on a new multi-million-pound greenway in the city.

Dozens of tyres and pallets have been left in the middle of the recently opened pathway in the Connswater district of east Belfast.

The pathway forms part of the £40m Connswater Community Greenway project.

The council said bonfire issues were "complex" and it was working with communities to address the matter.

The greenway project includes a number of new bridges, cycle paths and walking routes.

'Cleaning up rubbish'

It also features a new civic square with sculptures of characters from Narnia - in tribute to author CS Lewis who grew up in the area.

On Wednesday, about 500 people attended the official opening of a new greenway bridge, dedicated to Z Cars actor, James Ellis.

Image copyright Connswater Community Greenway
Image caption The greenway features a new bridge dedicated to Z Cars actor James Ellis

The investment was aimed at improving the urban environment by creating open public spaces and cleaning up rubbish from neglected riverbanks.

For weeks, complaints have been lodged with the council about the discarded tyres and pallets.

Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) councillor John Kyle told the BBC's Evening Extra programme the stockpiling was "unacceptable" and unwanted by local residents.

Image caption A PUP councillor suggested setting aside dedicated areas for bonfires

"We've seen tremendous improvement and enhancements in the Connswater Community Greenway over the past three or four years, people are very proud of what has taken place," he said.

The councillor added talks were ongoing to try to get the materials taken away.

"The community want to see them removed, the council wants to see them removed, but it's always best done working with the bonfire builders."

'Cultural spaces'

Mr Kyle added that youths had built bonfires for "generations" in Northern Ireland and suggested that dedicated areas should be set aside for the practice.

Image caption Some of pallets have been stacked near houses

"We need to, I think, create cultural spaces where young people and communities can build their bonfires and celebrate.

"Areas that are appropriate, that are suitable, that can be reused year after year, that are sustainable.

"That, I think is what our goal is - that we aren't destroying public property, we aren't destroying the infrastructure that everyone else enjoys for the rest of the year."

Alliance councillor David Armitage told BBC Newsline the council had held meetings and consultations about the issue and he was "hopeful" of progress.

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