Southampton Airport's runway extension debate goes on

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The debate on plans to lengthen Southampton Airport's runway is set to continue into a second day after 14 hours of deliberations.

Eastleigh councillors adjourned their meeting on whether to approve an extension of 164m (538ft) at midnight on Thursday.

Airport bosses said it was "vital" for the site's future but campaigners and some local authorities have raised major objections.

The meeting will resume at 18:00 GMT.

Dozens of people including residents, councillors, businesses and representative of Southampton Airport aired their views on the scheme during the virtual meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee, which started at 10:00 and finished at midnight.

The airport insists its survival depends on being allowed to extend the runway to accommodate planes such as the Airbus 320 and Boeing 737.

The plans - which council planning officers have recommended for approval - include 600 extra parking spaces in the long-stay car park and a blast screen built to the north of the proposed runway extension.

The airport maintains the expansion would result in £15m worth of investment and more than 1,000 jobs.

The meeting heard the number of people affected by airport noise would go up from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Local authorities, including Southampton and Winchester city councils, Test Valley Borough Council, four parish councils, as well as Bournemouth Airport, Southern Gas Networks and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership, all objected to the plans on the grounds of noise and climate change.

When the meeting was adjourned, three councillors of the eight on the committee had given their views, with two opposing and one in favour of the plans.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-56534522
 
Southern Gas Networks objected? They are a utility company. I presume they are trying to put across their environmental credentials. They serve Scotland and the south of England. I wonder if any of their staff fly between Southampton and Scotland or for that matter fly at all on company business.

Southern Gas Networks is 25% owned by Ontario Teachers Pension Plan who are the owners of Bristol Airport and also have a 48.25% stake in Birmingham Airport.
 
Good luck tonight with the runway extension decision. My airport is LBA which has recently bucked the trend and got approval for a new terminal but it's noticeable that the anti airport lot here and yours down there seem to be copying each other. I swear they must have a 'reasons to object' pamphlet so they can churn out the same nonsense about why no airport should ever get planning approval ever again. Perhaps it's called the NIMBY handbook!

Can't believe though that your neighbouring airport at Bournemouth objected on environmental grounds!
 
Can't believe though that your neighbouring airport at Bournemouth objected on environmental grounds!
The Welsh Government and its airport company formally objected to Bristol Airport's planning application with part of its objection relating to the environment, this being a section of the submission: The development will be to the detriment of environmental considerations, such as ecological, landscape, air quality, transport and noise impacts; all of which are negatively impacted and require mitigation which could otherwise be avoided.

Bristol Airport formally objected at a public enquiry in the 1990s that was considering a planning application to turn Filton airfield into a city airport.

I suppose with Bournemouth (re Southampton) , Cardiff (re Bristol) and Bristol (re Filton) it's about protecting your own commercial interests and in that sense understandable and legitimate.
 
I suppose with Bournemouth (re Southampton) , Cardiff (re Bristol) and Bristol (re Filton) it's about protecting your own commercial interests and in that sense understandable and legitimate.
The issue with Bournemouth's negative view is that SOU have previously stated that they have no intention of competing with BOH, and that their true rivals are 'the London airports'.
 
The debate continues, interesting to hear that companies that part-own other airports, are objecting but I suppose are doing so on business grounds, however, in that respect, I would only expect Bournemouth Airport to object.
 
Rejected by 5 votes to 3. It will now go before the full council on 8th April so I guess it's not over yet.
Really disappointing. Listening to the chair of the plans panel you would think a relatively short runway extension was going to turn SOU into another LGW .
 
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Rejected by 5 votes to 3. It will now go before the full council on 8th April so I guess it's not over yet.
Really disappointing. Listening to the chair of the plans panel you would think a relatively short runway extension was going to turn SOU into another LGW .

I watched part of todays session and it left me wondering what is the point of our planning system?

You have planning officers investigate a proposed development, spending months if not years weighing up the pros and cons, all for it to go before councillors who will almost certainly have already made their minds up which way to vote. These "meetings" are no more than each councillor justifying why they vote the way they do.

If I were a planning officer and spent 6 months investigating a certain development and came to a conclusion in favour, if the councillors then voted against it would be hard not to feel that the last 6 months had been a waste of time and question your own future as a planning officer.

What is the point in having planning officers investigate a proposal, if the councillors then go and ignore the planning officers expert opinion? What is it that councillors add that planning officers miss?

One part I found particularly ironic was a couple of councillors commenting how much traffic there already is and that if the airport development was approved this traffic would only increase. Surely its a failure of a council if traffic is already so bad that it prevents new developments going ahead? Essentially admitting that as a council they're already failing to deal with traffic. No doubt they'd pass the blame onto previous councils.
 
In the past year four airports have had planning applications recommended by the respective local authority planning officers and of these only Leeds City Council planning panel agreed with their officers - in respect of Leeds-Bradford Airport.

The other three local authorities (those responsible variously for Stansted, Bristol and Southampton airports) rejected their own professional officers' recommendations, although in Southampton's case the full council has yet to confirm. Given that 34 of the 39 councillors on Eastleigh Borough Council are Lib-Dems, a party with the environment close to its heart, it's hard to see the full council not confirming tonight's decision.

Stansted and Bristol have already appealed to the national Planning Inspectorate. If the planning inspectors follow the line of the planning professionals on the local authorities they will recommend that the appeals succeed. They could make the decisions themselves but it's much more likely that the secretary of state will 'recover' the applications and make the decision himself. He is not bound to follow the planning inspectors' recommendations.

The Stansted outcome is likely to be known within the next three months.
 
Paul Holmes MP has set up a petition in support of the runway extension to demonstrate to the full Eastleigh Council the level of support with 1300 signatures in 24 hours in addition to the 60% in favour during the public consultation.

However, the leader of Eastleigh Council isn't impressed claiming that petitions make no difference as planning applications are decided based on law. Seriously?? An odd claim given the Planning Officer decided, based on law, that the extension should be approved. The plans panel rejected it based on perceptions about climate change, and supposed noise intrusion, not law.

The Council leader also stated that people signing the petition should contact their Councillors instead, as it is their decision whether to approve it or not.
 
What hypocracy! I will not ask what his political allegiance is. Seems to me that he is full of his own importance.
The leader of Eastleigh Borough Council is Councillor Keith House, a Liberal Democrat. There are 39 councillors with 34 of them being Liberal Democrats. Of the others three are Independent and two Conservatives.

Cllr House is not entirely correct with his assertion. If the full council upholds the rejection decision and the airport launches an appeal the matter will be taken out of the hands of local councillors.
 
It's mindboggling really considering while UK airports try to gain what amounts to minimal expansion other airports around the world are growing at a phenomenal rate. Even if the UK and Europe were to put the brakes on airport expansion, the hundreds of Manchester and Heathrow sized airports in India and China make us look pathetic quite frankly when we're arguing about replacing small airport terminals and adding 160m of tarmac to a runway.
 
I seriously hope that Southampton Airport can appeal the decision!
Still awaiting the decision of the full council in this matter - I'm assuming that's because the council's standard orders say that any planning decision taken against the recommendations of the council's own planning officers has to be referred to the full council.

North Somerset's Council's standing orders dictate that in that local authority a decision taken contrary to their planning officers' recommendations has to be confirmed by a subsequent meeting of the planning committee which is what happened in the case of Bristol Airport in February and March last year. It then took BRS until August before they launched their appeal, no doubt because they needed time to consider specialist legal and planning advice before coming to a decision re appealing.

Once the final decision is made re SOU the owners have six months to launch an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if the local authority decision is still to reject their planning application. That would mean late September for all practical purposes by which time the result of the Stansted appeal ought to be known - the public enquiry part of STN's appeal was completed a week or two ago. The BRS appeal is under way but the public enquiry part is not due until July so the result there won't be known until late this year.
 
It's not just aviation where Councillors on the planning committee ignore their [qualified & salaried] Planning Officer's recommendations and vote how they want.

In the town I live in a certain fast-food company wanted to build a new restaurant. Planning Officers recommended approval as all the conditions were met. Planning committee refused the application on the basis the restaurant would be 402m from a Sixth Form Centre. New-build fast food units are not allowed within 400m of schools. The company concerned appealed to the Planning Inspectorate and won. The restaurant is now built & trading.

These Councillors who ignore the recommendations of their planning officers are playing with expensive fire. If the Planning Inspectorate decides to over-rule the original decision, the company can apply for costs to be awarded. In the case above, the Councillors voting the way they wanted on the fast-food application led to the company being awarded £750k in costs, which comes out of Council funds.
 
The full council meeting is underway, but delayed by 1.5 hrs due to a councillor moving that the decision should be deferred . There was reference to Robert Jenrick MP deferring his decision on Leeds Bradford Airports new terminal building. This seemed to imply that the meeting today should be deferred also. That motion was defeated after a vote.

Given that the planning committee took 17 hours to reject the application, it's likely that the full council won't decide this until late tonight or tomorrow, with 200 people asking to speak.

The local paper (Daily Echo) has a live update including an on-line poll. To date, 14% only oppose this, 1% think it should be deferred, but 85% support it. Sounds about right really. As usual the vociferous minority try to over-rule the majority.

Good luck to Southampton Airport, though with a Lib Dem Council making the decision, it's going to need it. After the recent approval given by Leeds City Council, it would be good to see another council reject the anti aviation lobby and grant approval.
 
The full council meeting is underway, but delayed by 1.5 hrs due to a councillor moving that the decision should be deferred . There was reference to Robert Jenrick MP deferring his decision on Leeds Bradford Airports new terminal building. This seemed to imply that the meeting today should be deferred also. That motion was defeated after a vote.

Given that the planning committee took 17 hours to reject the application, it's likely that the full council won't decide this until late tonight or tomorrow, with 200 people asking to speak.

The local paper (Daily Echo) has a live update including an on-line poll. To date, 14% only oppose this, 1% think it should be deferred, but 85% support it. Sounds about right really. As usual the vociferous minority try to over-rule the majority.

Good luck to Southampton Airport, though with a Lib Dem Council making the decision, it's going to need it. After the recent approval given by Leeds City Council, it would be good to see another council reject the anti aviation lobby and grant approval.
It's now 2300 hours and the meeting is still going on according to the local rag 'running commentary' although the Southampton Airport managers will not now make their submissions until tomorrow (Friday).
 
Yes, now looking at written comments, but it will continue tomorrow at 6pm when Southampton Airport will make their statement.

It's incredible really that they have spent over 27 hours now on this, yet it's likely that councillors will vote as they wish (probably against) and will have little regard for the huge number of comments they have listened to, none of which are very original and all of which seem to apply at every similar airport related debate.

Two on line polls by the Daily Echo have resulted in a huge majority in favour, but will councillors take any notice? At least one, Cllr Paul Holmes has done his best to promote this, even securing over 3000 signatures on a pro airport petition he set up. Can't imagine any of our Leeds councillors doing anything like that!

I have to say however that some if the opposition comments were bordering on ludicrous, claiming this will result in mental health issues, hearing issues, and various other ailments.
 
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