There were angry scenes outside Mossley Mill on Tuesday night after the council’s Planning Committee voted to approve planning permission for the proposed pig farm on the Reahill Road.
Objectors and supporters of the facility clashed in the foyer of the council building, before heated exchanges took place in the car park of the Lakeview Crescent site.
Objectors surrounded the cars of supporters, blocking their exit from the car park, while insults were traded between the parties.
Our reporter attempted to video the altercations in the foyer of Mossley Mill, but was stopped by security staff.
Approval was granted for a facility which will house in excess of 15,000 pigs.
The Planning Committee passed the pig farm by a majority vote with nine councillors voting in favour of the application and just two against. They were DUP Cllr Thomas Hogg and Ald John Smyth of the same party.
The nine representatives to vote in support of the facility were Aldermen Fraser Agnew, Tom Campbell and Roderick Swann and Councillors Billy Webb, Trevor Beatty, Jim Bingham, Henry Cushinan, Brian Duffin and David Hollis.
Planning Committee member, Cllr Stephen Ross, declared an interest in the farm, voicing his objection to the facility. He was unable to take part in the vote.
Speaking to the Times following the meeting, the DUP representative said: “I am really disappointed with the decision. I have held discussions with a number of objectors and the legal team and a number of options are being looked at.
“It could cost in excess of £70,000 to fight this decision, but it is a price worth paying as this farm is completely out of character with the area and something a lot of people do not want.”
Following the decision being made, a number of objectors vowed to continue fighting against the farm.
Commenting on this, Cllr Ross added: “We live in a democracy, with everyone having the right to conduct peaceful protests.
“If anyone is wishing to protest against the farm, I would urge them to be peaceful and respectful. If it is not peaceful and respectful, it will be the residents, who have been opposed to the farm from the outset, who will be the people affected.”
Local resident, Jack Shaw, contacted the Times to express feelings from within the local community following the decision. Mr Shaw said: “Many local people feel that their wishes have been ignored. There are concerns regarding increased traffic on the roads and potential health problems for residents.
“With many jobs being lost in the area, as well as others under threat, local people are concerned that this new plant will not provide employment for the community.”