Residents living close to the site of a proposed pig farm development near Mossley have voiced their opposition to the plan.
A number of local householders have already started lobbying politicians amid concerns about the possibility of foul smells emanating from the site.
The owners of Halls Pig Farm, Old Carrick Road have submitted a planning application to extend their existing business and build a new off-site state-of-the-art agri-food facility described as “a sustainable, wholly self-sufficient intensive pig farming unit employing best industry practices.”
The project, earmarked for a 23-acre piece of agricultural land at Reahill Road/Carntall Road, would also include the construction of an anaerobic digestion plant.
It’s thought that thousands of pigs could be housed at the site in four large sheds, where they would be fattened up before being taken away for slaughtering.
While an Environmental Impact Assessment, including noise level and air quality checks, has already been carried out by the applicants, some local residents are concerned about the potential impact the farm could have on surrounding area.
The ‘Stop The Newtownabbey Pig Factory’ Facebook page, which has more than 300 ‘likes’, claims that the farm will be “one of the biggest pig factories in Europe and will have a massive impact on the lives of people living and working within the Mossley/Newtownabbey area” - a claim the agent for the project declined to comment on when contacted by the Times.
A public consultation event took place last week in Ballyearl, and a residents’ meeting is scheduled to take place at New Mossley Community House on Wednesday evening, May 6 at 6.30pm.
Among those due to attend the meeting is local DUP Cllr Stephen Ross, who revealed that residents of Carntall, Mossley, Ballyearl and New Mossley have contacted him with concerns about the plan.
“There are going to be two lagoons at the site - one for run-off water and one for pig waste - and people are worried about the smell.
“According to the applicant all the buildings would be sealed and there would be state-of-the-art filters and flues so there would be no smell, but people living in the area still have a lot of concerns about that and other issues.
“People are understandably worried and they want to know more about the plan and want to get answers to the questions they have. They have genuine concerns and they need answers,” he said.
South Antrim MLA Paul Girvan said he too has been contacted by a number of local householders about the proposed project.
“I’ve been contacted by several residents of the Carntall/Reahill Road area who are against it and they may have been in contact with other representatives as well.
“This is a fairly major application so they (the applicants) will need to do a fair bit of public consultation,” he said.
Mr Girvan said he plans to meet with the applicants in the coming weeks to discuss the proposal in more detail.
His party colleague, Pam Cameron MLA, described the proposed development as an “industrial scale pig farm” and claimed the site at Reahill Road is “entirely unsuitable.”
“Given the rural location of the site I am at a loss as to why the proposers feel this would be an appropriate location for such a large operation,” she commented.
The planning application for the pig farm has been advertised but has yet to come before Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Planning Committee for consideration.