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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 April 2007, 09:01 GMT 10:01 UK
Referendums reject airport plans
Boeing 737 flying over Romney Marsh
Boeing 737s will fly over Romney Marsh if the plans go ahead
People living near a Kent airport have voted against its plans for expansion in two town referendums.

More than a third of eligible electors in Lydd and New Romney voted on Wednesday on whether they supported the proposals for London Ashford Airport.

In Lydd, 741 were in favour and 916 against while in New Romney 396 were in favour and 1,288 against.

Bosses at the airport have criticised the polls as a waste of money, saying a public consultation was carried out.

The two polls, held simultaneously, were organised by Shepway District Council, the planning authority which is considering applications from the airport.

Massive turnout

One is for a new terminal building to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year - the equivalent of 10 flights a day - the other is for two runway extensions, together 444m (1,456ft) in length.

Resident Di Matra, who campaigned for the referendums, said she did not expect such a "massive turnout".

"It was wonderful seeing all these people walking up to the voting stations," she said.

"It was good to see so many elderly people there because they are the ones who cannot get out so much."

She said the referendum results would lend weight to their opposition to the plans.

"We have been called nimbys and rent-a-mob, which is all rather unjustified," she said.

A six-week public consultation on the plans ran until 5 March.

Groups in favour of the airport expansion say it would bring welcome jobs, better transport links and an economic boost to the area.


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