INSULTS flew at a meeting to discuss the Boosbeck abattoir saga with councillors voting against letting the Secretary of State decide its fate in a bid to speed up delays.
Officers from Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council were asked to fast-track a legal report to inform councillors at the next full council meeting on September 19 on how to proceed with the controversial slaughterhouse located on an East Cleveland high street.
Councillors voted against ‘calling-in’ the case, which would mean referring it to Westminster, and are undecided whether to serve a Section 102 order which could involve paying millions of pounds in compensation to close Halal meat firm, BHM Ltd.
Temperatures rose inside and outside the new Leisure and Community Heart in Redcar attended by around 30 frustrated residents.
Chairwoman of the executive scrutiny board Councillor Brenda Forster struggled to control a barrage of heckles from residents who sat in the council chamber instead of the public gallery due to poor acoustics at the new £31m facility.
“You are just here for cheap publicity, you are a disgrace the lot of you,” she said after Marlene Brown shouted a list of gases she thought local children were being forced to inhale and refusing to leave the meeting.
And when her husband, Neville, accused the council of moving the goal posts, Councillor Forster called him a “nuisance”.
Not permitted to speak officially at the executive scrutiny board, furious residents shouted “spineless” at the committee as it concluded.
The meeting was almost suspended after a member of the public refused to stop filming it which, Councillor Forster said, was against the council’s constitution without prior consent.
Council leader George Dunning said: “This should be a full council decision. There is no way an abattoir should be based on a high street, especially in a village. Planning law dictates there was no way we could have rejected it.
“I understand this frustration we just keep going round and round in circles,” he added.
“I do not want to make a decision for people I represent on a financial issue if it’s going to possibly bankrupt the council and that’s what we could be looking at,” said Councillor Helen McLuckie.
After the meeting Mrs Brown, who lives metres away from the slaughterhouse which re-opened in 2012, said: “It has been even worse since the warm weather. Sheep are bleating all night long so we can’t open our windows or sit outside in the garden. All we can hear is lambs crying for their mothers.
“If proper planning had been put in place there would be no complaints. The waste would have been disposed of properly, the fans would be internal and there would have been screening. It should have been dealt with at planning. It just makes me so angry.”