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Plans to develop the airport in South Kent have been given the go-ahead at a council meeting.
The meeting lasted for seven hours and went on until 2am.
Councillors voted by 27 votes to 12 to allow the construction of a runway extension, a starter apron and a new passenger terminal capable of handling 500,000 passengers a year.
Lydd Airport Managing Director Jonathan Gordon said the council’s decision to support the £25 million investment plan was “a victory for the people of Shepway”.
He said councillors had boosted the district’s future economic prospects by voting yes. Hundreds of jobs are expected to be created at the airport and in the wider community as the site is developed.
“We put forward a compelling case for allowing the controlled development of the airport and when councillors took stock of the overwhelming body of evidence in front of them, they were persuaded to vote in a positive way. They have made the right choice for the future of our community.”
The airport’s plans to modernise and develop the Romney Marsh site had the backing of many residents and business groups, while opposition was voiced by other residents, environmentalists and the RSPB. Mr Gordon also thanked supporters for their tireless efforts to back the airport’s development plans.
But campaigners say they're shocked and saddened by the decision.
Deputy Director of the Kent branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Sean Furey said:
“The decision by Shepway Council shows little consideration has been made for the tranquillity of this unique area or opposition from local residents. The Councils own planning officers advised the plans be rejected, yet still approval has been given. Expanding Lydd Airport is the most unsustainable decision that could have been made for this area, yet sadly it has now been made. The environmental impact is going to be devastating.”
Steve Dawe, from Kent's Green Party said:
"Shepway District Council’s decision to support Lydd Airport’s expansion plans is another nail in the coffin of Conservative claims of environmental concern. This decision will be harmful to birdlife, will increase aircraft noise which is known to increase blood pressure and stress in people and may well generate demands for road infrastructure increases in the area
which the taxpayer will be expected to meet."