Controversial Willowbrook bonfire in Bangor goes up in flames weeks before July fortnight

Bonfire a Willowbrook, Bangor

The bonfire had been opposed by residents who set up a campaign against it

A controversial bonfire in Bangor has been set alight weeks before the July fortnight.

The Willowbrook bonfire in the Co Down seaside town had attracted a lot of opposition from residents who started a campaign to get it removed.

But on Monday afternoon the fire service were called when the bonfire mysteriously went up in flames. A fire service spokesman confirmed firefighters were at the scene shortly before 6pm on Monday, June 15.

Residents step up a Facebook group ‘Remove the Willowbrook bonfire’ and claimed it had been imposed on the community by outsiders.

In the description the residents wrote: “This page has been set up by local residents who do not want a bonfire on the Willowbook grass. There has never been a bonfire here before. None wants it!.”

One of the residents behind the group, who did not wish to be named, said: “I honestly feel it will be built back up again, burning it was not the optimum solution, moving it to a safer site would have been best.

“It is a case of the appropriate place for it and where it was was not the appropriate place. Clearly the act has shown there’s someone not happy with it and its location.

“I know there’s a lot of people against it. I have not spoken to a single residents who wants it.”

Residents first noticed the bonfire being built towards the end of April and one resident claimed it had been set on fire before, but not as big as the one firefighters are tackling today.

One resident added: “To be honest it was very dangerous, there’s a children’s nursery which is still open and there was a lot of smoke coming from the bonfire.

“It maybe was not the most sensible thing for whoever set it on fire to do.”

The bonfire had been built beside Willowbrook Road leading into the Willowbrook development. Ards and North Down Council said the bonfire had been built on Housing Executive land and the site was not part of the council’s bonfire management programme.

The Housing Executive said it had no prior notification about the bonfire and said it would be monitoring the site.

Residents in the area were warned to be careful while driving as the fire was creating a lot of smoke in the area.

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