CONTROVERSIAL plans to expand Southampton Airport could be determined as early as next month, but the public is set to be consulted again before a final decision is taken.

The proposals to expand the airport’s runway by 164 metres and add an extra 600 parking spaces to the existing long stay car park could be discussed and determined in July, it has been revealed.

But airport bosses  have confirmed that a new public consultation is to be held before a final decision is made.

It is not yet known whether the original plans are going to be amended.

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But a spokesperson for Southampton Airport said: “We listened to the first consultation and made improvements in a whole range of areas, so all the new information we provided as a result will to rightly go back to public consultation to ensure our communities have the opportunity to feedback.

"We will be releasing more information and, as per the last consultation,  signposting where people can comment in coming weeks.”

Further details are yet to be released.

As reported, a final decision on the plans is then expected to be made by civic chiefs at Eastleigh Borough Council.

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An aerial view of the runway. Picture: Stephen Bath

A date is yet to be confirmed, but a spokesperson for Southampton Airport said: “We are working towards a July date now, working around the logistical issues caused by the pandemic response. 

"Dates are not set in stone yet but we are working towards July at this point.”

Airport bosses did not confirm whether the decision has been delayed due to the pandemic.

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But the Southampton Airport spokesperson added: “It’s a highly technical planning application and there has been a pandemic which means everybody has to be super flexible in how they are approaching this.  

"Work has not ceased or let up throughout the pandemic response period.

"Things have progressed extremely well and we are delighted to be heading towards determination. 

"The airport is vital to the recovery of our local economy and extending the runway is an essential part of that.”

As reported, the proposals to expand the runway were met with criticism as some residents raised concerns over the impact on the environment and pollution.

A spokesperson for Eastleigh Borough Council confirmed that there will be a full re-consultation of the public, stakeholders, statutory and non-statutory consultees.

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In a statement a borough council spokesperson added: “We are awaiting amended information in support of the application.

"Once we have received this, we will undertake a full re-consultation on the proposed runway extension.

"Until receipt and consideration of this information we cannot arrange or confirm a committee date.

"The format of any future planning meeting will be informed by the most up-to-date Government guidance on social distancing available at the time.”