Pig farm protest sign to be removed

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

A pensioner who erected a sign at his home opposing the Rea Hill Road pig farm is set to remove the sign after being notified of potential penalties.

John Holland received a letter from Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council warning him he would be fined if the sign is not removed by March 7.

The council’s Planning Committee granted planning permission for the controversial pig farm, which can house up to 15,000 pigs in November 2016.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Holland said he erected the sign on his property because protest banners placed near the council’s offices had been torn down. He said: “What can you do if they’re going to turn round and slap a fine of up to £2,500? We’re two pensioners, I can’t afford to pay that.”

Commenting on the issue on February 28, a spokesperson for Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said: “The display of signs of this nature requires advertisement consent and in the absence of such consent, the signage is deemed to be unauthorised.

“The display of an unauthorised sign is an offence under Section 175 of the Planning Act (NI) 2011, and on summary conviction can result in a fine up to a maximum of £2,500 with potential for further daily fines should the advertisement continue to be displayed.

“Council wrote to the man, detailing the nature of the offence, the penalties that could be imposed and requested the sign be removed by March 7. The owner has indicated he intends to remove the sign.”