Anger over development at pig farm site

Work commenced at the site on January 23.
Work commenced at the site on January 23.

Residents opposed to a controversial pig farm have voiced concerns after work commenced at the Rea Hill Road site.

The application for the facility, which could accommodate up to 15,000 animals, was approved by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Planning Committee in November 2016.

Since plans were proposed for the development of a pig farm at the site, opposition has come from a number of quarters including local residents, environmentalists and animal rights campaigners.

Members of the community, who are opposed to the facility have stated that since work began on January 23 2017, there have been a number of negative impacts on the area. A spokesperson for the Stop the Newtownabbey Pig Factory campaign group, which was set up to monitor the environmental, social, economic and human health impact of the farm said: “Since work started, a number of issues have arisen. These include heavy traffic on a small country road, impediment of access for local residents when vehicles are queued and waiting to get on site, no signage of works, damage to the verges, dirt on the road, flooding at the site and noise. A new entrance has also been created.”

The campaigners have also contacted local politicians over what they have termed as ‘breaches of planning conditions.’

East Antrim Alliance election candidate, Stewart Dickson has written to the Chief Executive of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council regarding the recent developments at the site.

He said: “I’ve written to Jacqui Dixon, raising issues which may be or may have the potential to be in breach of the original conditions that were set out in the planning application. I haven’t heard back, but I’m expecting to hear back soon.

“I’m asking the council to use enforcement powers. A small fine won’t do it. This requires a stop notice until they can demonstrate they’ve met all of the conditions set out in the planning application.”

Commenting on the issue, South Antrim DUP election candidate, Paul Girvan said: “I’ve been contacted by a number of residents who have genuine concerns about the construction of the farm. Some of these people, who live within half a mile of the site, feel aggrieved at what’s happening on their doorstep.

“There’s a strong feeling of annoyance, with some people feeling this has been forced on them. They’ve raised a number of concerns, including potential smells from the farm, as well as possible water and health issues. I don’t want to put anyone out of business. The farm has been approved by planners and its development needs to be done in a way that doesn’t have a negative impact on the community.”