A new £2.1m cemetery to be located at Old Glenarm Road will meet Larne’s burial needs for up to 100 years, a public consultation held by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council has been told.
The consultation led by the council’s operations director Philip Thompson took place online on Thursday evening.
Mr Thompson told viewers the search for a suitable new site has been ongoing for the past 20 years.
The town’s main cemetery in Craigyhill is expected to reach capacity in four years with 250 plots remaining.
Potential sites at Kilwaughter, Ballyboley Road, Millbrook, Drumalis and Lealies Drive, in Antiville were investigated but ruled out.
Mr Thompson indicated the council had agreed to purchase a site at Brustin Brae Road, which he described as “ideal” due to its proximity to the town’s main churches, but further explorations ruled that the groundwater system was “unsatisfactory”.
In the mid-90s, he said the council purchased a field from a parish adjacent to the existing Greenland Cemetery in Craigyhill but this “proved to be an unsuitable site”.
“We want to provide a site that is suitable and has no environmental consequence,” he noted.
He thanked the Larne clergy, representing the main’s churches, who have been meeting since 2004 to discuss the project, for their ongoing commitment.
Mr Thompson went on to say the council was asked to look at land owned by the local authority at Old Glenarm Road in 2018 and an adjacent field owned by a private landowner was identified which the council has agreed to purchase subject to planning permission.
Council officer Peter Kay told the meeting the current cemetery at Upper Cairncastle Road cannot be extended any further.
He reported that the new 15-acre site can facilitate 4,700 plots. It will be located on the right side of the road towards Ballygally.
In addition, it will facilitate an area for the planting of memorial trees, a memorial garden for those who have experienced baby loss, seating and staff facilities, internal roads, parking spaces and a turning lane for access from Old Glenarm Road. Plots will not be allowed to be purchased in advance.
Talks are taking place with Translink over a possible extension of a town service bus route to the facility.
A planning application is to be submitted in June with a contractor expected to be appointed in January 2022 with initial works expected to be completed in March 2023.
Concerns have been raised with the council over issues including lighting, pedestrian access from Branch Road and gritting of Old Glenarm Road.
The council has also been asked about access from Drains Bay carpark and Carnfunnock Country Park which is to be explored.
Mr Thompson continued: “I accept we are moving out of the town development limits. Every cemetery has to be provided outside limits to get the area of land needed.
“We want to work to deliver something that is satisfactory and suitable for the town.”