Stop the Super Cemetery at Valley Park.
  • Petitioned Alderman Victor Robinson

This petition was delivered to:

Mayor of Newtownabbey
Alderman Victor Robinson

Stop the Super Cemetery at Valley Park.

    1. Derek McCabrey
    2. Petition by

      Derek McCabrey

      Belfast, United Kingdom

Newtownabbey Borough Council are pushing forward proposals to build a 'super cemetery' next to the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice. For those young people who are patients of the hospice, and particularly for those who may be reaching the end of their lives, it is inappropriate and brutally insensitive for them and their relatives to look directly out onto a large cemetery.

Valley Park is regularly used by patients and their relatives and provides a therapeutic escape. Many local residents have happy memories - for some, their last memories - of time spent with family there. It is completely unacceptable that the council would even consider this option.

Please sign the petition now and call on the council to reconsider their proposals, and find another site for the super cemetery.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-18513237

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 7,500 signatures
    2. Some surprising news!

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Newtownabbey Council continues to work to identify alternative sites for the new cemetery. Apparently Council Officers have identified further spaces in Carnmoney and Carnmoney Cemetery East. This could provide another 1000+ spaces. The question here is why were these spaces not identified at the beginning? Did certain Councillors know of this when they voted for Valley Park to be converted? Did they therefore cause unnecessary stress to those patients of the NI CHildren's Hospice that use Valley Park? Still, there are those Councillors who are now looking at the alternatives and they deserve our support. Once more, let me say that I am grateful to each and every one of you for your vote and support in this petition and it continues to grow - we are now approaching 7500 votes . It may take a while until we see the outcome of the Council's investigations, but we are not going away. It is no exaggeration to say that the kids of the NI Childrens Hospice are depending on us. Thank you.

    3. We shall prevail.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello, and welcome to the first update of 2013. The selection process for the alternative site is continuing. I continue to watch it very closely. There will be a council meeting soon that I plan to attend, at which I expect that the cemetery issue will be further discussed. Part of the last meeting was held in private and I understand that this was because of confidentiality concerns regarding some of those members of the public that have submitted their land for consideration. I have had many messages of support and being this far into the life of the petition, it is very much appreciated and I am in the process of replying. I made another visit up to the Northern Ireland Childrens Hospice grounds recently just to remind myself of the view and that the building of a cemetery WILL be in plain sight of those unfortunate children and their carers, so it is imperative that we win. With your support and encouragement, I have no doubt what we will do so. Thank you, Derek McCabrey.

    4. Thank you so much.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello everyone.This is the final update regarding the progress of the petition/cemetery siting issue for this year. As you know, the site selection process is ongoing and I am happy that progress is being made. The consultants appointed by the Council now have identified six alternative sites and three within the Valley Park itself. I want to thank in particular Alderman John Blair of Newtownabbey Council, Jonathan Bell (Newtownabbey Times), the reporters who covered this issue, and Saira O'Mallie and John Coventry of Change.org for their invaluable help. Finally, thank YOU for all your support during this year for not only the petition but to me. Without you, this progress would not have been possible. You have all done real good for the very very unfortunate young people, their parents and carers of the Northern Ireland Childrens Hospice. May you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. Thank you, Derek.

    5. Valley Park is still being considered for use as a cemetery.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Newtownabbey Council's search for an alternative suitable site for their cemetery continues and I can report that at the council Policy and Governance Committee on 19 November, out of twenty-two sites submitted, nine were selected for further investigation. Unfortunately I have to point out that out of those nine, THREE are sites within the Valley Park itself. This is unacceptable. It is not possible to know the reasons behind the council's choice as the decisions were taken in private committee. So the questions remain for now: is this process really just a means of assuaging public concern, the council never intending to deviate from its original plan to site the cemetery beside the NI Childrens Hospice? Or is it a process that genuinely seeks an alternative site? Hopefully things will become clearer in the near future and of course I will update you once I know more. Thank you for all your support, Derek.

    6. More governmental problems for the Hospice organisation . . .

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello,
      I am pleased and furious at the same time today progress on our petition subject continues steadily, but I learnt yesterday that the work of the main Hospice organisation is under threat because our Government is hesitating to fund an essential rebuild of the Hospice's facilities. It truly is a scandal. At this minute I don't know what impact if any this will have on the operations of the Children's Hospice but I am going to find out. If you are still following the progress of this petition, I urge you to sign and get your friends to sign the Hospice petition on change.org: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/our-hour-of-need-pledge-your-support-and-urge-the-northern-ireland-executive-to-find-2-5m-to-help-build-a-new-northern-ireland-hospice. You can read more about this on: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/patients-leave-rundown-hospice-as-desperate-search-begins-for-money-to-rebuild-16235451.html. Thank you. Derek.

    7. Opposition is spreading.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello,
      Because the petition is now long term, you might think that it is tempting to become disheartened or worse - detached. I am particularly strengthened by those of you who have written to me with messages of encouragement and to you I say thank you - your messages mean a great deal. But enough of me. There is a very active groundswell of opposition not only to this proposal, but also now to those who would have designs on developing another small, yet beautiful piece of council parkland near by. Two members of the public have asked the Department of the Environment to place a large number of Tree Preservation Orders on both locations and the council have adopted a motion not to oppose these. So you see, your action in supporting this petition is bearing fruit (excuse the pun!) in other ways. Thank you once again, Derek.

    8. Opposition is spreading.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello,
      Because the petition is now long term, you might think that it is tempting to become disheartened or worse - detached. I am particularly strengthened by those of you who have written to me with messages of encouragement and to you I say thank you - your messages mean a great deal. But enough of me. There is a very active groundswell of opposition not only to this proposal, but also now to those who would have designs on developing another small, yet beautiful piece of council parkland near by. Two members of the public have asked the Department of the Environment to place a large number of Tree Preservation Orders on both locations and the council have adopted a motion not to oppose these. So you see, your action in supporting this petition is bearing fruit (excuse the pun!) in other ways. Thank you once again, Derek.

      http://www.newtownabbeytoday.co.uk/news/local/council-doesn-t-fight-protection-order-on-trees-at-shore-road-1-4303385

    9. Opposition is spreading .

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello,
      Because the petition is now long term, you might think that it is tempting to become disheartened or worse - detached. I am particularly strengthened by those of you who have written to me with messages of encouragement and to you I say thank you - your messages mean a great deal. But enough of me. There is a very active groundswell of opposition not only to this proposal, but also now to those who would have designs on developing another small, yet beautiful piece of council parkland near by. Two members of the public have asked the Department of the Environment to place a large number of Tree Preservation Orders on both locations and the council have adopted a motion not to oppose these. So you see, your action in supporting this petition is bearing fruit (excuse the pun!) in other ways. Thank you once again, Derek. Here is the link if you want to read it: http://www.newtownabbeytoday.co.uk/news/local/council-doesn-t-fight-protection-order-on-trees-at-shore-road-1-430338 .

    10. Thoughts . .

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      It seems that there is not a week goes by without my hearing of someone close or connected, getting cancer. What is it about this illness that it is so particularly pernicious, cruel and unforgiving. It puts family, friends and the like through a prolonged mangle, emotionally, physically and spiritually and every time I hear of another who has this illness, it is like a dagger to the heart. When I began the petition, it was a knee-jerk reaction to a report on a BBC website. But as time passed, I realised just how callous it was to even think of siting a cemetery beside a hospice and that there is no doubt in my mind that it was the right thing to do. That so many continue to sign the petition is a testimony to how deeply you care about this issue. I think that one cannot really put a value on this petition unless we fail. But if we can imagine that scenario, we may then have some idea of what victory will mean. I am deeply grateful to you all. Thank you, Derek.

    11. Significant progress.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      I can report to you that things are now beginning to move. You will remember that as a result of your petition and reaction from the local population of the Newtownabbey Borough and environs, the Council advertised for landowners who would be interested in selling their land for cemetery purposes. To date, the Council has had at 7 responses, possibly more. This is good news. Indeed, I understand that most of the councillors were quite shocked at the depth of feeling on this issue and are possibly now beginning to reconsider their stance, which is a credit to them. If so, then I welcome this. I will not be closing the petition for the foreseeable future as the Council procurement process has to get underway and, based on the results of that, the planning application must be made and approved. I am delighted that the petition continues to grow and I sincerely hope that, by the time an alternative piece of land has been secured, we will have 10,000 signatures. Thank you, Derek.

    12. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the young sufferers.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello.

      Some of you may be wondering what is happening in our campaign right now. Although it may not look like it, let me reassure you that there is a lot going on. The initial reaction to the petition of the council and the media was considerable. Now we enter a relatively quiet period and I work away in the background as I continue to gather evidence and information. We have some way to go until we can declare total victory. This week I once more read through every reason that you wrote in signing the petition. In many cases, it was very hard reading. It reminded me very graphically that as people who care, we continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with those who suffer, to prevent those in authority who, for self-serving reasons would pour further heartache upon those young hospice patients. Now or in the future. And that is what the petition is all about. Not me. Not you. Not the council. Not the media. Them.

      Thankyou

      Derek McCabrey

    13. The Long haul . . .

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello,

      Firstly let me apologise for not getting this to you recently as usual. This was due to some technical difficulties. But we are up and running now. The petition continues to grow day by day. As we enter a new phase in the campaign I want to let you know that there is still a lot of work going on in the background and the petition will continue to play a pivotal role in that. So please continue to support the petition and help me reach the 10,000 target. While the campaign against the super cemetery is now widening and may be fought on both the moral and planning fronts, I am quietly confident of success. But we will not let our guard down for one minute. The objective is clear, developments are being monitored and decisions are being made.

      And now it's down to the hard work after all the initial excitement and we are going to see this through to victory!!

    14. Newtownabbey council rethink on cemetery opposite Children's Hospice.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      The link to the BBC Northern Ireland news website confirms that the petition has caused the council to widen the scope of the search for a new cemetery site. For all of you who signed the petition and got others to sign, I say well done. Also, on the left is a snippet of the advertisement placed in the Belfast Telegraph - another significant development. But, please let me remind you, as I remind myself, that we cannot be complacent - we have more work to do until we can finally declare victory. Thank you.

    15. WHAT A WEEK!!!!

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      This week I attended the first meeting of the protest group which was also attended by Alderman John Blair. It was a great opportunity for all to express their feelings on the matter and also to meet each other and I am grateful for the invitation and judging by those in attendance, I reckon that the team will be a force to be reckoned with!! Another significant event this week was the publication in the Belfast Telegraph, of an advertisement by Newtownabbey Borough Council seeking to purchase land for building a cemetery (see link). Why is this significant? Because before the petition, Valley Park was the only option being considered, despite denials of some councillors. It is because YOU put your name to this petition, that the council are now even considering alternatives, so many congratulations to you. So can we now declare victory? Alas not yet. Until the Government planning department finally approves another site, we must continue. Then we shall declare victory!!

    16. WONDERFUL NEWS!!

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello, I have significant news to report. Both BBC and Newtownabbey Times report that Newtownabbey Council are having a rethink on cemetery location. At its meeting last Monday (which I attended), the Council passed a recommendation to widen the scope of their search for land for a cemetery. The Council are also now denying that the Valley Park was ever seriously going to be considered, however that is not the case as documented evidence shows. The Petition has generated much adverse publicity for the Council and its Chief Executive recognised has this, leading to a change of strategy. This week I had a very worthwhile meeting with Alderman John Blair who is against the loss of Valley Park (Please continue to support him). Also this week I was interviewed by the BBC and there was further press coverage. Next week, I shall attend the first meeting of a new protest group and I shall keep you appraised. Thank you all once again for all your magnificent support. Derek McCabrey.

    17. Reached 6,000 signatures
    18. THE CRACKS ARE BEGINNING TO SHOW IN THE COUNCIL'S STRATEGY!!!

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Exciting news this week. Not only is the petition now heading for the 7,500 target, but I have information that cracks are beginning to show in Newtownabbey Council's strategy. YES - YOU ARE HAVING AN EFFECT!!

      This week, I have gained an important ally from within the Council and I have also been in touch with the Hospice and had further meaningful exchanges of information. It is all coming together and your petition continues to play an important part. I cannot thank you enough for your support, for without it, this progress would not be happening. We are at the beginning, but already we are having an effect and I will keep you up to date now on a weekly basis every Sunday unless there is a "stop press" moment!!

      PS - Check out the link below too!

    19. Reached 5,000 signatures
    20. An appeal. Stage 2 is beginning.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Would you please email or write to Alderman John Blair of Newtownabbey Borough Council and give him your support for his stance in opposing the building of the cemetery beside the Northern Ireland Children's Hospice. While other councillors appear to be putting their head in the sand over the matter, Alderman Blair continues to express his concern. He deserves our support. His email address is: jblair@newtownabbey.gov.uk. His postal address is: Alderman John Blair, Alderman John Blair, c/o Newtownabbey Council, Mossley Mill, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland BT36 5QA. Thank you.

    21. Rumours about cemetery ‘unhelpful’ claim councillors

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      So far the council are complaining about trivial matters concerning their proposal. Do they expect that they can place a cemetery beside a hospice for sick and dying children and nobody notice? Councillor John Blair deserves our full support. He appears to be the only councillor so far that is genuinely concerned for the welfare of the young patients of the hospice.

    22. Thank you so much.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hi everyone,
      There are at this moment a phenomenal 4234 signatures on the petition and it's all down to you. We are at the stage in the campaign where reaction begins to surface and the momentum can begin to slow. That is not unexpected. I have now replied to Councillor Campbell's trivial complaint about the volume of emails and although I have addressed the issue, there will be no apology. The Hospice have been in touch and have thanked me for bringing their plight into the public domain. I pass their gratitude on to you. I can assure you that they are very much aware of the situation and are awaiting the council's response. Our petition continues to be a feature in the local press (see below) and now, I want to make an appeal to you. I want to know if you are prepared to help in the next stage of the campaign and if so, please send me an email of your support. We will move soon and I will keep you informed. I really would love to hear from you all. Many thanks, Derek.

    23. Latest update.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello, if you are wondering if this campaign is faltering, I will tell you NO - it's not. I am now considering options and I have been giving serious thought to all the personal emails that I have received. I am under no illusion: the Council IS DETERMINED TO PUSH AHEAD WITH ITS PLANS TO TURN VALLEY PARK INTO A SUPER CEMETERY AND IT WILL HAVE A SEVERE IMPACT ON THE NORTHERN IRELAND CHILDRENS HOSPICE. I get the impression that what those councillors that support the proposal are really annoyed about is that their plans are now under public scrutiny. That is a victory for us. I now have evidence that the whole debate and discussion about the proposal has indeed been shoddy. I will have more to say soon but NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO GIVE UP - NOW IS THE TIME TO REINFORCE AND REDOUBLE OUR EFFORTS UNTIL THE COUNCIL SEES SENSE AND ABANDONS THEIR PLAN.

      Below is an article from Newtownabbey Times. Please read.

      Thank you all for your vital support.

      Derek

    24. Reached 4,000 signatures
    25. Latest update.

      Derek McCabrey
      Petition Organizer

      Hello,

      Well things may be hotting up a bit. The sheer volume of your emails to the councillors at Newtownabbey Council has "caused annoyance, to put it mildly", so I think that they have got the message. I have now removed their email addresses except for that of the Lord Mayor, so as not to cause any resentment to our cause.

      Support is growing and I will be upping the stakes in the coming days and I hope that you each will be able to support me.

      A lot of the reasons given for voting in this petition are tragic and heartbreaking, but that's the reality. We have got to make those councillors see reason and understand that what they propose is just plain wrong!

      If you wish to drop these councillors a note, would you PLEASE REFRAIN from doing so until I publish a breakdown of those who support the proposal and those who are against. That way you can tailor your email more suitably.

      I attach a link to the latest edition of Newtownabbey Times where you can read the latest.

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Linda Clubb HERNE BAY, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 7 months ago

      This is super insensitive for everyone concerned with the Hospice, staff, parents, friends, as well as the youngsters needing Hospice care.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Peter Jaques GRAVESEND, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 7 months ago

      For the sake of the children

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • josh turner KINGSWINFORD, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 9 months ago

      Yeah that's a bit mean. If you're gonna build a cemetery don't do it next to a place where kids are dying!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Graeme Braddock MARCH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 9 months ago

      This park should be used for roaming freely and receiving memories, not some power and money making graveyard that bigots would use everyday. If they want to build a super cemetery, they should build it on some rich and powerful tory's private land. We can't afford to lose this park to capitalism and totalitarianism, especially when this park is also used by the natural wildlife as well as us humans.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • mark malcolm-brown CAMBRIDGE, UNITED KINGDOM
      • 10 months ago

      the last thing a family yet all own a dieing child needs to see is a mass of graves. what idiot thought that would be a good plan. open head and add brain as you do not seem to have one.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the Change.org API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.