Planning permission has been granted for the construction of a major new factory in Newtownabbey.

The Ardagh Group will make drinks cans at the £150m facility to be built at the Global Point business park in County Antrim.

Permission was agreed by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s planning committee.

Ardagh first revealed its intention to build the factory in November 2021 and hope to have it operating next year.

Mayor Alderman Stephen Ross said it was an important milestone for the project.

“The economic importance of this development and the benefits it will bring not just to Antrim and Newtownabbey, but to the whole of Northern Ireland, cannot be overstated,” he added.

“The Ardagh facility is part of a high-quality portfolio of manufacturing projects planned for invest NI’s Global Point facility.”

Ardagh is based in Luxembourg but the company has Irish roots.

The international packaging group traces its origins back to glass manufacturing in Dublin in the 1930s.

In its current form, it was built by Irish businessman Paul Coulson, who is the chairman and largest shareholder.

The initiative in Newtownabbey is part of a multi-billion dollar investment by the company, involving the construction of new, recyclable metal packaging capacity in Europe, North America and Brazil.

David Spratt, chief executive of Ardagh Metal Packaging Europe, said they appreciated the support they had from the council in progressing the development.

“We are delighted to be granted planning permission to deliver a new, innovative manufacturing facility in Newtownabbey and progress closer to the creation of nearly 200 new jobs for the local employment market whilst also supporting circular economy growth,” he said.