Birmingham’s extension plans face opposition

An application to extend Birmingham airport’s runway is due to be submitted later this month for approval by Solihull Borough planning department. The length of the proposed extension is 405 metres plus a starter extension of 150 metres, bringing the length of the extended runway to just over 3000 metres. The extension is planned for the south east end of the main runway, which will involve alterations to the A45 Coventry Road, including the construction of a tunnel.

Currently the restricted length of the runway makes the airport unsuitable for certain destinations and routes and it is felt by the airport authorities that the new runway will bring great economic advantage to the region.

A consultation process was carried out in Nov 2007 to obtain feedback from local residents and businesses and this formed part of the initial application.

21 Romany families at the Haven Caravan Park in Bickenhill face severe noise problems or even losing their homes if the plans go through. Many of the residents have lived there for decades and there is understandable cause for concern in the Romany community. Laurence Boswell, the manager, is angry that for all the years the site has been open he has never received grants from the council or money from the airport and now wants financial help, should the site have to close. A spokesman for the airport has said that Solihull Council will have to relocate the families but Solihull Councillor, Jim Ryan, feels that it should not be up to the taxpayer to foot the bill which could run into millions of ponds but the airport.

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