BALLYRASHANE Creamery has been granted planning permission for a waste conversion facility which will help cut energy costs and secure the 150 jobs at the site.
The planning application by the Creamery Road company is for an anaerobic bio-gas facility which will include storage tanks and underground gas and effluent pipes to and from the existing creamery.
Originally, three letters of objection to the scheme were received.
At Tuesday’s meeting of Coleraine Borough Council’s Planning Committee, a representative from the Planning Service’s Belfast headquarters addressed members.
Sharon Mossman, from the Planning department dealing with waste facilities, told councillors that the Creamery wanted to used waste products such as cattle slurry and certain crops to convert them to energy to help with their energy bills.
She said that the move would help to consolidate the 150 jobs at the creamery and provide for a possible extra 20 jobs.
She outlined the objections which had been received, particularly from neighbours Mr and Mrs Hemphill who also attended the meeting on Tuesday.
Ms Mossman said that the applicants had agreed to plant trees along the area adjoining the two sites in order to screen the creamery area from the Hemphill’s residence.
She said that Mr Hemphill, who lives 30 metres from the creamery site, asked Planners to ensure that the applicant would plant the screening shrubs along the whole boundary.
She said that Planners were making that a condition of their approval for the scheme.
Cllr David Barbour said that he had recently visited Ballyrashane Creamery and described it as one of “Coleraine’s best kept secrets” in terms of business.
He also said that he was glad the company had worked to accommodate local residents in their scheme and asked that mature trees be planted along the boundary in order to speed up the screening process.
Cllr David McClarty said that he had met with both applicants and objectors.
He said that the objectors in no way wanted to hold back the application but simply wanted assurances regarding the screening issue.
Cllr Sam Cole said that it was vital to protect the 150 jobs at Ballyrashane.
Mayor of Coleraine, Alderman Maurice Bradley said that he too had visited the Creamery recently and said it was an “amazing place”.
“I am confident that the requirement for screening will be implemented as soon as possible,” he said, proposing that members accept the Planners’ recommendation to approve the scheme.
Alderman Maura Hickey seconded the proposal saying that she was delighted the difficulties had been resolved. This was agreed unanimously.