The chairman of Mallusk Community Action Group has called on Planning Service to halt the ongoing industrialisation of the village.
Richard Gregory has accused planners of using Mallusk as “a dumping ground” in recent years, pointing to the landfill site at Baird’s Brae, the increasing number of waste management and recycling facilities in the area and the proposal to construct a massive waste incinerator at Hightown Quarry.
“Why is it that when something needs to be got rid of, it ends up in Mallusk? I know for some years now that the industrialisation of Mallusk has been a policy for the planners, but enough is enough,” he told the Times this week.
“We have a landfill site. We have waste management and recycling. We have the threat of asbestos dumping and contaminated soil cleansing. We have a quarry. We have scrapyards - one right at the bottom of the street in the case of Tudor Park. We have tarmac and cement works. We have the prospect of an incinerator. And the latest plan we have recently found out about is an anaerobic digestion plant, to be sited on the corner of Ballycraigy Road South and Antrim Road, overlooking the City of Belfast Playing Fields. For those that don’t know, this will mean cattle slurry and grass/silage etc being delivered to make methane gas to produce electricity.
“We also have various warehouses and factories, car dealerships and the like, all in the village of Mallusk.”
Pointing to the effects of the industrialisation on local householders, Mr Gregory continued: “We get smells and odours from the landfill and tarmac plant. We get the noise of scrap being moved around site. We get extra traffic. We get mud on the roads and dust in the air. We get flies. We get rats. And what can we do? Very little it seems.
“We don’t get reduced rates. We don’t get free electricity. We don’t get pedestrian crossings for the young and elderly because there’s not enough of us, apparently. Never mind the safety of the few then.”
Mallusk Community Action Group is an environmental organisation set up in 2008. It has charitable status and tries to work with local residents and businesses to address issues affecting the local community.
“We try to do what we can for the villagers, but with little help from those that make their money from our village. We have appealed to most of the businesses locally with little response, although we are grateful to the few that have donated funds. In fairness, BIFFA do send their roadsweeper up and down Mallusk Road often to try and keep on top of the cleanliness issue. They also help in other ways and sponsored our Christmas tree lights.
“Some of the original office holders are still here doing their level best to try and maintain a reasonable standard of living in the village, but it’s hard work. And when companies can get planning through without having to consult directly with those affected most - local residents, it makes it so much harder.”