Concern over Leisureplex bonfire

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A father has expressed concern after seeing a bonfire being built at the Lagan Valley Leisureplex.

The Lisburn man, who takes his son to football at the Leisureplex pitches every week, said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the bonfire being built beside the pitches.

It is understood the bonfire has been built on the same spot for the past few years and that those constructing the bonfire have given assurances that no tyres will be burnt when it is lit tonight (Friday).

A spokesperson for Lisburn City Council confirmed the land the bonfire was being built on did belong to the council and that they had held discussions with the organisers.

A spokesperson for Lisburn City Council said: “In relation to the bonfire located in the vicinity of Lagan Valley LeisurePlex it is located on council property but it is not situated on a football pitch.

“The council has received one complaint to date. The organisers of the bonfire have given an undertaking that tyres will not be burnt.”

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he would be speaking to community representatives about the concerns raised.

“My understanding is that this bonfire has taken place on the site for the past number of years and community representatives have co-operated with the council to ensure materials burnt on the bonfire do not cause any long term damage and the bonfire site is reinstated afterwards,” said Mr Donaldson.

“However, I do recognise the concerns raised and will be discussing this with community representatives and the council.”

Local club Lisburn Rangers, who play on the pitches at the LeisurePlex, say the bonfire does not affect them in any way.

A club spokesperson said: “This is the third year the bonfire has been there and it doesn’t affect us in any shape or form.

“It must cost the council in terms of the damage it does and with three or four hundred people at it, you can’t have a bonfire and not have damage or tins and broken glass, but it’s an historical event, it happens every year across the country.

“It doesn’t affect Lisburn Rangers, it has nothing to do with us.

“We are a cross-community club, it’s not an issue for us, it’s an issue for the council and the residents and the people doing it.”