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Abattoir decision 'back-heeled', claims campaigners
12:22pm Friday 6th June 2014 in News
ANGRY residents packed out a council meeting as they continue their fight to close down an east Cleveland abattoir.
Boosbeck Against Slaughterhouse (Bash) had battled to stop the slaughterhouse in the centre of the village from reopening when an application was lodged with Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council in 2011.
And they have continued to protest about problems associated with the Halal slaughterhouse after they were unsuccessful in their bid to prevent BHM of Middlesbrough from re-opening the site.
The council’s regulatory committee, formerly the planning committee, heard a motion calling for the authority to force its closure using a discontinuance order submitted by ward councillor David Williams.
He said he hadn’t taken the decision to submit the motion lightly and outlined hundreds complaints from residents, including the smell, noise and visual impact on the village.
“The smell is stomach churning,” he said. “I work in the funeral business and am used to strong smells but nothing like the smell from the slaughterhouse. There are sheep heads, blood and bones stored in bins that are never cleaned properly.”
Adrian Williams, the council’s regulatory services manager, had told members that the council could serve the notice but any decision would have to be ordered by the Secretary of State after going through the Planning Inspectorate.
He warned that if the discontinuation notice was issued the council could face claims for compensation and could be faced with all parties legal costs if the site’s owner wins the ruling to continue operating from the site from the Secretary of State.
In 2012, the campaigners issued a legal challenge after the licence was granted to reopen the abattoir, but the Court of Appeal rejected their appeal last January.
Committee member Valerie Halton recommended an amendment to the motion calling for the motion to go to cabinet for decision.
She said: “It will incur (the decision) huge amounts of compensation to the council, possibly going into millions of pounds and I don’t think this committee is placed to decide that.
“I think the council has responsibility to its residents to make sure we improve people’s quality of live and your quality of life has been destroyed since the abattoir reopened.”
Councillor Eric Jackson made a further amendment calling for the motion to go before full council for consideration.
Councillor Williams objected to the motion, saying: “We are just back-heeling make this decision to any other committee rather than this one. What is more important, people’s lives or money?”
Councillor Halton’s amendment was passed by five votes for and five against with committee chairman Brian Hogg using his discretionary vote to pass the amendment.
Speaking after the meeting, campaigner Neville Brown said: “They just don’t want to make a decision themselves, they want the cabinet to make the decision it’s nothing to do with them. This is just a delaying tactic and it’s an absolute disgrace.”
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