SOUTHAMPTON AIRPORT: Letter 16/03/2021 to Eastleigh Borough Planning Department



PO Box 1074     Alderney      Channel Islands      GY9 3BZ              

                                                                                                                                                                       16th March 2021

For the attention of the Eastleigh Borough Planning Department

Dear Councillors

Planning Application Reference: F/19/86708 Southampton Airport Runway Extension.

The Alderney Chamber of Commerce is aware of your meeting to make judgement on this planning application.      We wrote to your planning team in August last year to confirm the Alderney Chamber of Commerce’s overwhelming support in favour of this planning application to extend the runway.      420 survey Alderney respondents and 366 testimonials indicated strong support in favour.   Copies of these testimonials were attached to our original submission.

Covid-19 is having an undoubtable impact on many countries’ economy at this time with most travel suspended or restricted.   However, looking ahead, Southampton Airport will continue to serve as a lifeline route for more than 175,000 residents of the Channel Islands who transit for medical, personal and business purposes.   Additionally, over half of Alderney’s passengers are holiday home owners, island families and tourists who have indicated their eagerness to resume travel when we gain control of this pandemic which would now appear to be happening.   Southampton Airport underpins a huge slice of Alderney’s existing economy and is an intrinsic lever within our roadmap for growth regeneration and sustaining Alderney’s future.

Southampton airport also provides additional income and job creation for Eastleigh/Southampton district in hospitality, retail, transport, engineering and much more as passengers pass through this airport.   The site being directly adjacent to major rail and road connections makes it one of the best placed airports in the UK.   We consider an extension is now even more critical to retain and attract operators and give flexibility to your future operating model.

We recognise that within this planning process, concerns have been expressed regarding noise and air pollution.   Drawing on experience with our own transport strategy, we suggest the solutions proposed to counterbalance these concerns, offer a significantly better alternative than having to retain smaller, older aircraft which inevitably results in increased frequency (and more noise/pollution).

If Southampton Airport were unable to secure the runway extension, it would continue to limit future operators and the airport is unlikely to survive.    We believe this would be detrimental to Eastleigh, Southampton and Hampshire along with the loss of connectivity with the Channel Islands.  Without passenger footfall the nature of local commerce, physical infrastructure and skill set will change considerably and that could result in local long-term unemployment.

Southampton Airport is a jewel in the Hampshire crown considered by many to be one of the leading airports within the UK prior to the advent of Covid-19.    Its ambience, connectivity, facilities and support network are leading edge.   If you allow the runway extension to proceed, you will be seen to support the survival of the airport thus encouraging growth generation and prosperity for your district.

We would respectfully ask that this application F/19/86708 be supported and approved.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Eggleston   President

Ann Hodgson          Joint Vice President

Nigel Lawrence       Joint Vice President

On behalf of the Alderney Chamber of Commerce