THE consultation period for Southampton Airport's pre-application plan to extend its runway ends this weekend.

Residents can now have their say on the proposals, but bosses say another 12 week consultations will also be held later in the year as well.

They add the 170m extension is needed so it can compete with other airports, as Southampton has one of the shortest in the country.

As well as the extension, the application proposes a new taxiway, tunnel safeguarding works, an expansion of the terminal, and additional car parking.

A full planning application is expected by the summer, which is when the consultation will start.

It comes after the results of a six-week consultation revealed that the scheme has been back by the public, with more than 60 per cent agreeing the airport needed to grow.

Neil Garwood, airport managing director, pictured, said: “There are constraints which we must, together with our local communities, overcome if we are to realise our ambition. Southampton Airport has one of the shortest runways in the UK and is unable to provide the same breadth of European air services that other regional airports can offer.

“We are fully committed to growing the airport responsibly and are carefully considering all feedback received so far. We will continue to broaden our engagement with key stakeholders such as parish councils, local councils and transport planning authorities to discuss ideas and answer any questions they may have.We hope to progress to a planning decision by the summer and take it from there.”

Nevertheless, residents who live under the flight path are opposed. Michael Channell, of Newton Road, Bitterne Park, said: “I have lived under the flightpath in Bitterne Park since 1984 and have witnessed a steady increase in number of flights along with the size of aircraft coupled with the noise generated making it impossible to hold conversation, listen to radio/TV every time a plane takes off.

“Southampton is already listed in the top five most polluted cities in the country, causing the council to consider implementing a toll system in an effort to reduce the number of vehicles entering the city centre."