Pig farm plan: Farmer says he will meet objectors

The proposed pig farm development at Reahill Road could house up to 30,000 animals.
The proposed pig farm development at Reahill Road could house up to 30,000 animals.

The man behind the proposed large-scale pig farm development near Mossley has given an assurance that he will meet with opponents of the project to discuss their concerns.

Farmer Derek Hall is seeking to expand his existing pig farm business based at Old Carrick Road, Monkstown. However, his plan for an intensive pig farming unit at Reahill Road has met with considerable opposition from local residents and animal rights activists.

An online petition opposing the plan has attracted 185,000 signatories, and the council’s planning department has been inundated with letters of objection.

Earlier this week, Queen guitarist Brian May, a committed animal rights activist, added his voice to the chorus of objections.

Opponents of the controversial plan were due to hold a public meeting at the Elim Church in New Mossley on Tuesday evening. However, the meeting was postponed when the organisers were informed that Mr Hall, who was only given a few days notice, wouldn’t be able to attend.

“We did not ask for the meeting to be cancelled and indeed suggested that any questions asked at it were noted so we could discuss them with the committee,” Mr Hall said.

“We have made an offer to the residents’ committee to hold a meeting with members of the committee along with a number of councillors who have also expressed an interest in the matter.”

It’s understood the objectors are hoping to reschedule the meeting in the coming weeks.

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Planning Committee has already approved holding a pre-determination hearing into the pig farm application.

The public meeting, a date for which has yet to be fixed, will give the applicant, key stakeholders and members of the public the chance to air their views prior to a decision being taken on the application by committee members.

Meanwhile, Mr Hall has launched a website aimed at providing more information about his proposal. The site - www.nipigfarm.com - attempts to address some of the main concerns raised by opponents of the project.

• Read related stories - Thousands object to large-scale pig farm plan and Residents kick up a stink over pig farm plan