Page last updated at 09:31 GMT, Thursday, 4 March 2010

Shepway councillors approve Lydd Airport expansion plan

Lydd aerial view
A report recommended expansion plans should be refused

Plans to expand a Kent airport have been backed by councillors despite fears of excessive noise and damage to the environment.

Shepway District Council approved Lydd Airport's plans to build a new terminal and extend its runway by almost 300m (328yds) after a seven-hour meeting.

Planning officers had recommended refusing the application but members voted 27 to 12 in favour on Wednesday.

The new terminal will be able to handle up to 500,000 passengers a year.

The meeting ended at 0200 GMT with the approval of plans to build the runway extension plus a 150m (164yds) starter apron, where aircraft are parked, loaded and boarded.

Lydd Airport managing director Jonathan Gordon described the decision as "a victory for the people of Shepway".

'Detrimental impact'

He said: "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."

Liberal Democrat councillor Lynne Beaumont, who opposes the scheme, said jobs and green tourism was the way forward for Romney Marsh "without destroying the most beautiful and scientifically important part of our area".

Environmental campaigners fear the plans will impinge residents' quality of life and have an adverse impact on the area.

A planning officer's report, released in February, said the runway extension could have a detrimental effect on conservation areas and expressed concern about the impact of noise on local residents.

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Residents for and against the expansion attended the meeting



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