ANGRY objectors brought a rat to a council meeting to highlight their opposition to the redevelopment of two waste disposal sites.
At a meeting at Sunderland Civic Centre, councillors voted in favour of the plan to rebuild the sites near Springwell Village but not before residents from the area voiced their concerns.
Sita UK, which runs the two sites, said that the facilities were in need of modernising and that many of the buildings were derelict.
But complaints of noise, foul smells and rats were aired by people living in the area as they pleaded with the council to reject the application.
One objector said her friend had caught 18 rats in two months around her house and presented one of them in a box for the committee to see.
Another lady said the residents were sick of the “monstrous and stinking wagons” from the sites.
They were also joined by some councillors who said questions needed to be asked about the consultation process.
Coun Margaret Forbes said: “The report does not give any degree of clarity and there is quite a lot of things that need clearing up.
“Issues have also been raised of real concern over the consultation that took place.”
But as the application was approved the plans to demolish and re-build the 25-year-old site are set to go ahead.
Corrina Scott-Roy, planning manager for SITA UK, said: “The new-look waste transfer station will be a big improvement for local residents and the visitor and education centre, which will be powered by solar panels and a small wind turbine, will be a great resource for local schools.
“We will be setting up a community liaison group so that people can keep up to date with the redevelopment and ongoing operations at the site.”
Chairman of the South Tyne & Wear Waste Management Partnership, Coun Peter Mole, said: “This is great news for the local community.
“During consultation for the development we received a high level of support for improving the current waste transfer station – local people are keen to see the remains of the old incinerator replaced with a modern facility.
“The visitor and education centre will be an asset to the community and schoolchildren.”