Drumbeg Community Association

 resurfacing of the Church Corner September 2018

photos by Leo Rossi

Stag in garden off the Drumbeg Road. February 2012.
photo by Irene MacWilliam

.....Stag in Rural Cottages on 9th April 2012.
.......photos by Aidan McFall


Belfast Parks, Lagan Valley Regional Park and Drumbeg residents are to create a 'Bird Table' in the field upstream of Drum Bridge - the area that had horses and is liable to flooding.

The 'Bird Table' will be an area devoted to seeded plants and wild flowers to attract a variey of birds.


S/2011/0082/F Planning Application for Boarding Kennels.

Published in the week ending the 11th February 2011 in the local press. Drumvale Farm, 155 Ballyskeagh ~Road, Drumbeg Proposed change of use from Agriculatural Storage Shed to Boarding Kennels with associated site works.

Local poet and author Colin Sloan publishes his latest book



Now available from Waterstones

Z/2010/0767/F? Planning Application
for Nursing Home at Lagan Valley Equestrian Centre, Lagan Valley Regional Park.
A planning application has been submitted to the Planning Service seeking full permission for the development of a Nursing Home (53,000 sq ft building for high a dependency home with 64 beds), with ancillary works for a site within the Lagan Valley Regional Park at 170 Upper Malone Road.

June 2010 Latest Planning Application

for Motorway Service Station on Southbound carriageway, Drumbeg. (Erection of motorway services to include filling station, forecourt service shop, car wash, café/restaurant, rest and WC facilities, associated parking and amenity area.)

Below is an extract copied from the Ulster Star website of 18 May 2010
Amended plans submitted for M1 service area
Published Date: 06 May 2010

'AMENDED plans have been submitted for what would be Northern Ireland's first motorway service area on the M1 near Hillhall.
The original plans sparked controversy when they were first lodged in 1999 as the proposal for the motorway service station near Sandy Lane is on the edge of the Lagan Valley Regional Park and in close proximity to local residents in Drumbeg.

If approved the plan would see a filling station, forecourt service shop, car wash, cafe/restaurant, rest and WC facilities, associated parking and amenity area being developed.

There is also an application for a second service station to be located on the north side of the motorway close to Drumbeg.'

for Motorway Service Station on Northbound carriageway, Drumbeg

 for 4 Town houses at 248 Ballylesson Road

NOVEMBER 2009 --- CEMETERY UPDATE by Tony Hegarty and Roger MacWilliam

Since our last newsletter we have picked up some more information from Belfast City Council Parks and Leisure Committee minutes.

The Meeting of 9 April 2009 was given updated information on Tier 3 ground tests at Lisleen and Nutts Corner. To analyse the data will take approximately 16 months to complete. It is anticipated that the final report will be received in May 2010

At the Meeting of 11 June 2009 Councillors were reminded that Lisleen and Nutts Corner sites were selected as the Council's preferred sites and Drumbeg and Hightown are no longer in the short list, within the context of the Council developing one large cemetery. The Council had proceeded to a Tier 3 risk assessment at both Lisleen and Nutts Corner. A Report to this Meeting gave initial findings. The Lisleen site has favourable conditions and would be likely to be suitable for development as a cemetery. The Nutts Corner site is not as straightforward. It was agreed that the Tier 3 tests continue at Lisleen and initial "data modelling" will be carried out at the Nutts Corner site. Although the interim findings have not ruled out either site, it is advisable that due to the issues that have arisen with the Nutts Corner site that contingency plans are put in place.

Possible options for contingency plans are:

To review the previously identified "long list" of sites to see if there is potential to identify a number of potentially suitable smaller sites.To advertise/seek expressions of interest from landowners who have potentially suitable sites they may be willing to offer for sale as a contingency option for further development.

It was recommended that in the first instance a desk top review of the previously identified sites be carried out; the results of this to be reported back to the committee in September. It seems that the Committee has not yet received this

The meeting on 15 October was told that investigation of Lisleen and Nutts Corner has continued, but that only 36% of the Nutts Corner site was suitable for burials, the rest having insufficient soil depth over rock. The Consultants Scott Wilson has recommended that the findings of the Tier 3 investigation of Nutts Corner be assessed by Northern Ireland Environment Agency, the successor to Environment and Heritage Service. As NIEA have not previously carried out such an assessment, the time for a response is uncertain.
Because only a small proportion of Nutts Corner is useable, the possibility that small sites be developed still remains. It is probable that Drumbeg has not been finally dismissed by Belfast's Consultants. The "long list" is the list of approximately 12 sites. From this the consultants originally chose Hightown and Drumbeg as their preferred site for a single large cemetery. Belfast City Council then chose Drumbeg and submitted it to BMAP.

Local poet Colin Sloan publishes his latest book - 'Lisburn Camera & Verse'.
Colin's poetry with photos of Lisburn from 1963-1972, taken by the Town Clerk, the late Harry Duff. is now available at Waterstones, Bow Street, Lisburn.


Planning Application.
The following planning application is available on a Public Register and may be examined at The Divisional Planning Office, Rathkeltair House, Market Street, Downpatrick between the hours of 9.30am - 4.30pm Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and 10.30am - 4.30pm on Thursday. It is advisable to telephone before calling at the Planning Office, Tel: 02844 618000 as it is possible by agreement to examine the published applications at a clinic at another location within the Division,
Written comments may be submitted within the next 14 days. Please quote the application number in any correspondence and note that any representations made, including objections, will be publicly available on the planning application file.
To view the application file which will include all representations submitted, you must contact 028 44 618232 for an appointment quoting the application number. You should note that during the early stages of processing, the application file will contain little more information than the Public Register,
The following Information is also available on www.planningni.gov.uk
APP No Location Proposal
0477 Approx 200m south of 40 Sandy Lane, Hillhall, Lisburn (Readvertisement) Erection of motorway services to include filling station, forecourt service shop, car wash, café/restaurant, rest and WC facilities, associated parking and amenity area. (amended plans)

Local poet Colin Sloan has another book published.

Straight Outta Belfast. Poems and Images of a City in Transition by Colin Sloan and Brendan Murphy.
Published by Brehon Press. November 2007

BMAP Inquiry - Drumbeg A Cemetery - March 2007


Planning Service has withdrawn from BMAP the land south of Drumbeg proposed for zoning as a cemetery. This follows a decision by Belfast City Council that it no longer wished to pursue this option for securing these additional burial lands, identified by the Council as Drumbeg A. The Planning Appeals Commission confirmed at a public Pre-Inquiry meeting on 21 February that the proposal will not be considered at the BMAP Inquiry. We expect that Planning Service will be giving formal notice of this decision to objectors and other interested parties.

However, we cannot yet sit back and relax. Belfast City Council continues its search for burial sites and is carrying out investigations in four other locations, including land lying between Quarterlands Road and the M1 motorway, identified as Drumbeg B. If BCC decide to proceed with this site, it will be obliged to apply for planning approval in the normal manner. We must be prepared to oppose such an application if it should arise. It is encouraging that BCC has stated that its decision to abandon Drumbeg A was based on both planning and legal advice. Similar considerations should apply to Drumbeg B, and it is up to us to demonstrate why this site is also unsuitable.

The massive number of individual objections to the BMAP proposal was a major factor in securing its withdrawal, showing the power of organised and well-focussed local opinion. The community has to be grateful to all who made their opposition known to Planning Service - we may well have to show similar resolve in resisting Drumbeg B.

BMAP Inquiry - Drumbeg A Cemetery - February 2007

The Statement of Case in support of its objections was submitted by Drumbeg Residents’ Association to the Planning Appeals Commission by the due date of 24 February 2007.

BMAP Inquiry - Drumbeg A Cemetery - November 2006

Members of the Action Committee and Planning Consultant Dale Singleton attended the First Pre-Inquiry Meeting on 14 November at The Spires Centre. The meeting was chaired by Elaine Kinghan, Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Planning Appeals Commission.

The meeting was concerned solely with the timetabling of the Inquiry and procedural matters. There was no formal reference to any specific BMAP proposals, though it did emerge that the Drumbeg Cemetery is one of the major matters to be determined by the Inquiry.

Written evidence must be submitted to the PAC by 14 February 2007. Dale and the Committee will be working at this.

For those of you with Powerpoint, a presentation that was made at the meeting can be found on the PAC website www.pacni.gov.uk . In the scrolling box on the site homepage, click the paragraph beginning “Click here for correspondence relating to the draft BMAP". The presentation will be found at the bottom of the list which then appears.

Additional Cemetery Threat to Drumbeg - Drumbeg B site

map of Drumbeg area showing areas marked for development for cemetery and crematorium

BMAP proposed area for Cemetery and Crematorium
(November 2004) - Drumbeg A



Drumbeg B - NEW proposed area for Cemetery and Crematorium
(Summer 2006)





You will be aware from the last Newssheet that Belfast City Council had appointed new Consultants to review the work of their previous appointees. You may have read an article in Sunday News, on 20 August 2006, stating that Belfast City Council’s consultants had produced a report recommending four sites for consideration as future cemetery provision. The sites are Nutts Corner, Hightown, Drumbeg B and Lisleen. The Lisleen site is adjacent to Roselawn Cemetery.

The critical local issue is that Belfast City Council has now identified an additional site named Drumbeg B. The site is approx 90 hectares which is 50% greater than the original site. This site is the land extending from the M1 motorway to the Quarterlands Road (boundary from the corner at the Quarterlands Lane development to just above the Quarterlands Road/ Hillhall Road junction). See map above.

We consider the new Belfast City Council Consultants’ recommendations as an even greater threat to the wider Drumbeg community.

We first became aware of this report from the press article and were informed that the matter was to be discussed at the Lisburn City Council Meeting on Tuesday 22 August 2006. We understood that Belfast City Council had written to Lisburn City Council seeking their views on the revised site at Drumbeg. We had a small deputation at the meeting. The Council unanimously rejected the proposal. Councillors speaking against the proposal included Ald Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Ald Ivan Davis, Ald Seamus Close and Cllr Patricia Lewsley. The Council Officials were instructed to reply to Belfast City Council advising them that Lisburn City Council remains opposed to any proposal for the development of any cemetery in the Drumbeg Area.

The present factual position is: - Belfast City Council asked BMAP to zone approximately 60 hectares of land at Drumbeg for a cemetery. This is the site which is subject to the Public Local Inquiry. It is our view that Drumbeg B cannot be introduced into BMAP but could be the subject of a separate planning application.

The whole area of Drumbeg is under threat from Belfast City Council’s proposals to establish a Cemetery and Crematorium in the Drumbeg area.

You will recall from our meeting in Drumbeg Parish Hall in April 2005 that we pointed out that Belfast City Council had identified the land from the Drumbeg Road to the M1 motorway for development as a super cemetery. That still seems to be one option which they may pursue. Consequently a delegation from the Association/Action Committee attended a full Belfast City Council meeting on 4 September 2006 to reinforce our objections. This pressure will be maintained and sustained.


Cemetery off Sandy Lane Planning Application October 2006
map showing proposed cemetery off Sandy Lane

The Ulster Star 6th and 13th October 2006
Planning Applications

Lands to the west of and adjacent to Sandy Lane and south of Nos 2-46 Sandymount Gardens Ballyskeagh, Lisburn.
Change of use of land to cemetery/graveyard to include access onto Sandy Lane, car parking, landscaping and internal access road way.



Cemetery and Crematorium Update February 2006

The Drumbeg Residents’ Association Action Committee has been preparing for the expected BMAP Public Inquiry with particular reference to the proposed Cemetery and Crematorium. Documentation and background information continues to be gathered from Belfast City Council, Lisburn City Council, Planning Service and other sources, in part through the use of the Freedom of Information Act.
It is encouraging to know that Lisburn City Council has stated its opposition to the proposal.
Following a successful tendering process Dr. Dale Singleton has been appointed as a Planning Consultant to the DRA Action Committee. He and his family are residents of the area. Dale has 25 years experience as a Chartered Planner in the public, private and educational sectors in Ireland and Britain. He has acted at over 400 Inquiries and Appeals here. He was a former Senior Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Planning at Queens University and a specialist advisor to the House of Commons, NI Affairs Committee, on planning in Northern Ireland. Preliminary discussions took place with Dr. Singleton on 24th January 2006.

Drumbeg News Vol 1 issue 2 December 2004
Cemetery and Crematorium planned for Drumbeg

BMAP map of proposed 123 acre site for the cemetery and crematorium

Drumbeg to provide a cemetery for Belfast
The Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) proposals have been published in the last few days and contain a very mixed bag of plans for our fair village. Although there hasn't been time to study the document in any detail-you need a trolley to carry in about it has been possible to unearth some of the main proposals that will affect us all. The one that jumps out and hits you between the eyes is the plan to create a 50 Hectare cemetery in the south quadrant of Drumbeg. This may not sound large at first but the designated area will actually extend south of Rosevale to Hillhall Road and from behind Rosevale east as far as Quarterlands Road. It's a monster. You might quite rightly think that it’s hardly in proportion to the needs of the local community and you would be correct. Apparently Belfast is fast running out of places to bury people and after consultation with Belfast and Newtownabbey councils we were considered the best location for a new super cemetery. This process of consultation doesn't appear to have extended to ourselves. We have until the 25th of January 2004 to respond.
Well is there any good news? Well there is. The BMAP on paper at least appears to be committed to extending the Lagan Valley Regional Park to encompass Drumbeg. It also makes a pledge to protect and nut-are areas of high scenic value and what it-refers to as "urban villages" and areas of "village character". It seeks to protect these settlements and spare them from development that is out of character. There is a strong recognition of the value of the sense of place, local distinctiveness, and community diversity throughout sections of the document which is encouraging. How this aspiration squares with turning Drumbeg into the dead centre of Belfast is difficult for me to see.

Drumbeg News Vol 2 Issue 1 March 2005
Supercemetery buried? Dead wrong! by Tony Hegarty

Sorting of objections to BMAP proposal

Sorting objections

Numbering objections  prior to handing them into BMAP.

Numbering objections

Following the publication of the Draft BMAP proposals in November 2004 this community showed its opposition to the planned sitting of a cemetery/crematorium at Drumbeg. Nearly one thousand letters of objection were lodged.
The action group set up to fight this proposal have intensively lobbied Lisburn City Council who have since withdrawn from a proposed joint venture with Belfast City Council for cemetery provision and have lodged an official objection to the planned Drumbeg cemetery site.
A response from the BMAP team, in relation to this matter is not expected until the end of April as it is but one of a myriad of objections returned to BMAP after the publication of the draft proposals. Regarding the cemetery proposal itself BMAP will contact Belfast City Council and ask them for their comments following the overwhelming level of local objection to the proposal. There could then be a further period of eight weeks before any decision will be taken whether the matter should be progressed to a Public Enquiry. However it is ominous that Belfast City Council shows no signs of voluntarily withdrawing the proposal of Drumbeg as the cemetery site at this stage. The community association is currently working on the scenario that we will fight the issue through a Public Enquiry.
Since late January we have been engaged in gathering details of Council Meetings and other information in preparation for developing a case for submission to an Enquiry should it take place. We have also sought some preliminary professional advice.
All the members of Lisburn Council have been contacted and requested to sign an unequivocal letter of support of our objection to the cemetery proposal. Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson and his potential challenger in the next General Election Basil McCrea have also been approached. The letter reads:
"I confirm that, should I be elected on 5th May 2005, I will give unambiguous, sustained and timely support to the Drumbeg/Lagan Valley Campaign against the Draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan proposal to zone land for Belfast City Council Cemetery/Crematorium at the designated site at Drumbeg."
As soon as we have more information about the progress of the BMAP deliberations this will be communicated to the community. We also intend to elaborate in some detail a number of important issues including possible costs and funding options if we must fight a Public Enquiry. An information night is planned to gather local opinion and views and chart a way forward.
Make no mistake we may have gained the upper hand in the first battle to protect our community from what can only be described as a violation. But the war is far from won. This is a community fight and it is only with the wholehearted support and commitment of the community we have any hope of succeeding.
The Association wishes to record its appreciation for all those unsung heroes who have committed so much time and effort on all our behalf to moving this objection forward.

Drumbeg News Vol 2 Issue 2 October 2005

Community under threat - A BMAP Update by Tony Hegarty
On the 7th September 2005 the Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan 2015 (BMAP) Team published all objections to the Draft BMAP Proposals. There is now an eight-week period to 2nd November for individuals and agencies to respond to the objections raised. We have studied the representations and those affecting Drumbeg fall into two categories.

Cemetery and Crematorium
There were around 1000 objections to the BMAP proposal to zone land at Drumbeg for development as a cemetery. This was by far the largest number of objections received to any single element within the BMAP document. At this stage we are still waiting to see what Belfast City Council's response will be to this massive rejection of their cemetery proposal. Like everyone else they are constrained to produce their counter-objections by the Nov 2nd deadline. After this closing date the Planning Service will make their decision on how to proceed. This is unlikely to be in any other direction but toward a Public Enquiry. Right from the discovery of the cemetery proposal in BMAP it was always suspected that the matter would have to be resolved in this way.
From a community perspective this immediately creates problems because representations at such Enquires must be made by professionals. If the community want its voice to be heard and retain ownership of its contribution to the process then we will have to engage the services of a Planning Consultant to represent us. This of course will cost money. The objective of the fund raising activities which have occurred in recent months was to secure the necessary finance to explore the possibility of taking this path.

The Funding Appeal
During June and July an appeal was launched to raise funds to meet the cost of a community based submission to the anticipated public enquiry should it be necessary. This money is currently lodged with the Ulster Bank (Finaghy) as the 'Drumbeg Cemetery and Crematorium Fund'.
Tenders are now being sought for the position of Planning Consultant to act on our behalf at the Public Enquiry. This will be our only opportunity to fight this imposition. To any households who have not and might wish to contribute to the fighting fund contact any DRA Committee or Action Group member. Money can be paid directly into the account.
The consequences which will be wreaked upon this community by a failure to prevent this proposed development are unimaginable. We need everyone's support.

Drumbeg News Vol 3 Issue 1 June 2006

Cemetery and Crematorium Update
Last News Sheet (Oct 2005) we reported that the proposed zoning of land at Drumbeg for a cemetery and crematorium complex within BMAP would only be resolved by a Public Inquiry. We also mentioned that in order to properly represent the community’s position we would need to engage professional expertise to prepare the case .
Our funding appeal had extensive support. This enabled the DRA to appoint on behalf of the community, after a tendering process, Dr. Dale Singleton. He with other specialist appointees, will lead our opposition at the Public Inquiry when and if it happens. Dr. Singleton is a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute with 25 years experience as a Chartered Planner in the public, private and educational sectors. He has acted as an expert witness/advocate at over 400 planning appeals and inquiries in Northern Ireland. Significantly he and his family are residents of the area.
Many of you may think not a lot has happened over the last six months. This is far from the truth, as regular lobbying and meetings have continued behind the scenes to ensure that LCC and BCC are in no doubt of the widespread opposition to the zoning. In addition the Action Group have worked tirelessly in preparing the ground for the Public Enquiry and continue to make representations to all local councillors. The matter has been raised in the House of Commons by our MP Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson and of course the BBC included an item on the proposal in its Inside Out programme.
We understand that the BMAP team recently completed their part of this exercise and have passed the relevant information to the Planning Appeals Commission who will be responsible for conducting the Public Inquiry. The next step in this process is that the Commission will contact the objectors.
This will require the completion and return of a pro-forma by all those who wish to sustain their objection. It is critical that everyone maintains their opposition by completing and returning the form when these are distributed. Should you have any difficulty, do not hesitate to contact one of the members of the local Action Group. Please remember that your ‘Agent’ is the Drumbeg Residents’ Association.
The Public Inquiry is expected to be at the end of this year or early 2007.

References to the Cemetery and Crematorium on the web


Extract From House of Commons Planning (NI) Debate 1st Nov 2005

Mr. Jeffrey M. Donaldson (Lagan Valley) (DUP): I, too, congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) on securing the debate. He made an excellent speech, laced with his usual good humour, and demonstrated a strong grasp of the relevant issues.
I want to draw the Minister's attention to the regional development strategy for Northern Ireland, especially the housing growth indicators within that strategy. Under the Belfast metropolitan area draft plan, those housing growth indicators were set at 20 per cent. growth for the duration of the plan period. The figure of 20 per cent. is too low and fails to reflect the housing growth that will be required in the Belfast metropolitan area over the plan period. As my hon. Friend said, given the likely further delay in processing the plan, which may not come live until 2009, the figure needs to be revised. Recently, the Planning Appeals Commission at the inquiry into the draft North Down and Ards area plan conceded that point and accepted that the target for that area's housing growth was inadequate. The principle having been conceded, the Department and the Planning Service need to reconsider and to revise the figure for BMAP.
In the light of my hon. Friend's comments, I ask the Minister to clarify the likely time scale within which it is intended to hold the public inquiry into the Belfast metropolitan area draft plan. When is it intended that BMAP will be adopted? What is the target date for adoption of BMAP and its implementation?
I want to mention briefly some of the consequences of the current BMAP process. Primarily, there is concern in my constituency about the joint ministerial statement by Lord Rooker, the Minister of State for Northern Ireland, who is responsible for the environment, and the Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the hon. Member for St. Helens, South (Mr. Woodward), who is responsible for the Planning Service. That edict caused great concern especially in rural areas in Northern Ireland. There is a proposal in the draft BMAP plan to extend the green belt in rural areas. Planning applications that were already in the system, which pre-date the publication of BMAP, although they met all the planning policy guidelines, were refused on the ground of prematurity because the area where the site was located would potentially form part of the green belt. That is grossly unfair.
Applicants, in good faith, submitted a planning application and found themselves caught, sometimes because the planning process had resulted in significant delays for those applications. A few weeks could have made all the difference between getting an approval and finding that their application was suddenly refused, purely on the ground of prematurity. I say, with respect, that the Department needs to look at the issue again in the interests of fairness and to revisit the issue of the joint ministerial statement. It is unfair that people have been disadvantaged in that way.
The strongest objection to the draft BMAP plan came from the residents of Drumbeg in my constituency. Some 1,000 objections were lodged against the proposal for a cemetery and crematorium on the edge of the Lagan Valley regional park. The former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the late Mo Mowlam, took time out to walk the Lagan Valley regional park with me. Her intervention strengthened the safeguards for that valuable open space, which is important not just to my constituents in the city of Lisburn, but to the city of Belfast.
However, there is now a proposal to locate a huge cemetery and crematorium in the expanded boundaries of the Lagan Valley regional park. There is a proposal under BMAP to extend the boundary of the regional park to include the area around Drumbeg. In the same draft plan, there is a proposal to create the cemetery and crematorium within that space. There is outrage in the community about that proposal and total opposition to it. I urge the Department to take that on board and, in revising the draft plan, to drop the proposal for the Drumbeg cemetery and crematorium. I accept that there is a need for a new facility, but surely not in the Lagan Valley regional park. We need to protect the open space that we have in the Belfast metropolitan area, which is a valued asset that should be conserved and preserved for future generations. That is the wrong way to go about it.

Basil McCrea

Jeffrey Donaldson on the Lagan Valley http://www.jeffreydonaldson.org/FAQ.asp

7. Is enough being done to protect the environment in Lagan Valley?

Since being elected I have taken a keen interest in environmental issues and have recently succeeded in obtaining a review of the Lagan Valley Regional Park in order to provide stronger protection for this important 'Green' asset. I have also co-operated with Lisburn Conservation Society in promoting the protection of wildlife habitats and I have actively campaigned with Friends of the Earth and other local community groups to oppose a landfill site for toxic waste at Mullaghglass Quarry and a proposed incinerator near Glenavy. I am also strongly opposed to the proposal by Belfast City Council for a new cemetery and crematorium at Drumbeg which would have a detrimental impact on the local community and upon the Lagan Valley Regional Park.

top of page

top of page