Judicial review of Southampton Airport is underway

A judicial review to review the decision to approve the runway extension at Southampton Airport began today.

Called by the group opposed to the expansion of Southampton Airport (GOESA), the legal proceedings seek to establish whether Eastleigh Borough Council acted unlawfully when granting permission for a “development 164 meters” north of the existing runway in June 2021.

Lawyers representing the group said residents were awaiting a government decision on whether to hold a public inquiry into the plan.

The council and airport bosses disagree and say the request should be dismissed.


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Judge Holgate considers the arguments during a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, which is due to end on Thursday.

A lawyer leading the residents’ group’s legal team told the judge that the council had agreed to the request not to issue a ‘notice of decision’ until there was a decision to planning survey.

David Wolfe QC argued in a written case statement that residents had a ‘legitimate expectation’ that council would not make a decision until Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick decided to ‘call’ or not the runway extension request.

He said the council’s decision was “tainted by a legal procedural and substantive flaw”.

Paul Stinchcombe QC, who leads the council’s legal team, told the judge in a written case statement that “no such representation” had been made by the council and that the argument of the legitimate expectation had failed on “the facts and the law”.

James Strachan QC, who heads the airport’s legal team, said there was “no basis” to suggest a “legitimate expectation” had arisen.

Barrister Rowan Smith, who is based at Leigh Day law firm and represents GOESA, told the court in a statement: ‘There is a real local democracy issue at play here.

“Our clients believe this should be properly considered by the High Court.”

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