CAMPAIGNERS called for "outrageous" plans to extend the runway at Southampton Airport to be refused at a meeting held to make a decision on the scheme.

Discussions over plans to expand the runway at Southampton Airport will resume today (March 26)

After 14 hours of debate councillors in Eastleigh decided that the decision on plans to expand the runway by 164m will be taken tonight (March 26).

It comes as the meeting of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee was adjourned and will resume today at 6pm. 

Dozens of people including residents, councillors, businesses and representative of Southampton Airport voiced their views on the scheme during the virtual meeting which started at 10am and finished at midnight.

Campaigners called for the plans to be rejected on the grounds of noise, pollution and climate change.

But airport bosses and businesses stressed the positive impact the move would have on jobs and the local economy.

The main concern raised during the debate was the impact the runway expansion would have on climate change and noise.

It comes as the committee was told that the number of people affected by noise would go from 11,450 in 2020 to 46,050 in 2033, if the expansion goes ahead.

But officers said that while without mitigation measures there would be a "major adverse impact", the mitigation measures proposed mean that the runway expansion would result in a "moderate adverse impact".

Among the measures proposed there are the cap on vehicles to restrict passengers to 3m per annum; a Noise Insulation Policy and a community fund - although details of the projects that would be funded through the community fund are yet to be revealed.

But campaigner Lyn Brayshaw described the measures as "trivial".

Cllr  John Savage said: "It is outrageous, our communities are being damaged by decisions you are making and it is going to affect the health of our people and it will last for generations."

Many suggested that the airport should cap passenger numbers at 2m per year.

But officers said these concerns will need to be considered in the planning balance.

Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes said: "The planning conditions ensure a fair deal for the local community and address concerns such as noise and traffic. I believe the case for granting this approval is overwhelming."

Cllr Keith House, leader of Eastleigh Borough Council, said: "What is new is that this application gives the council and community, for the first time, the ability to limit total movements. To achieve greater controls than it has had in the past. This is a very significant gain."

The plans were backed by the local business community including Go!Southampton and Solent LEP.

Ross McNally, chief Executive at Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "We ask the panel to back the airport, local businesses, communities and the great potential of this economy. The whole Solent business community depends on a well connected region."

During the meeting,  Andy Grandfield, head of housing and development at Eastleigh Borugh Council,  clarified that the airport breaks even at 1.2m passengers per annum and without the expansion it is estimated that it would have just over 1m passengers per year.

Meanwhile, if the plans are approved  the number of passengers is expected to rise to 3m per year.

Mr Grandfield said: "What that would mean is that the airport would have to look at alternative arrangements for funding to remain as a viable business. That isn't the same as saying if the application is not approved the airport would close. We need to make that very clear."

Southampton Airport operations director Steve Szalay, said: "We lost £7m last year, we are losing £7m this year and if that loss continues in to 2022/23 and at a smaller scale because this application is refused then there's really horrible conversation about what we do about that."

He told the panel the runway expansion would result in £15m worth of investment and more than 1,000 jobs.

Airport bosses also said to be committed to continuing to work with the local community and to put mitigation measures in place including a noise and carbon strategy.

Cllr Tina Campbell, chair of the Eastleigh Local Area Committee, adjourned the meeting and said: "This is a decision that needs proper and full consideration."