A LEGAL challenge is set to delay the construction of the extended runway at Southampton Airport.

An application for a judicial review was submitted to the High Court last month by a company under the name of GOESA Ltd.

Set up by the opposition of the runway extension, donations of £35,000 were made direct to GOESA Ltd to help fund the challenge, with Airport Expansion Opposition raising a further £16,500 through a GoFundMe page.

Now, airport bosses have told the Echo that the runway extension is due to be delayed.

Steve Szalay, operations director at the airport said: “Unfortunately, this legal challenge will delay the creation of much-needed jobs at a time of high post-pandemic unemployment, including 265 job opportunities during the construction phase.

“Given that the next steps for the judicial review are in the hands of the Courts and legal process, we cannot give clear guidance on the likely construction start date.”

The plans were approved by Eastleigh Borough Council on June 3 and now the leader of the council, Keith House has branded the judicial review a “hopeless legal challenge”.

He added: “I hope the Courts will resolve this quickly but legal processes do often take their time, even those like this, that also cost taxpayer’s money and push back vital economic recovery”.

Eastleigh MP, Paul Holmes, who supported the runway plans added: “This is a disappointing and desperate action that seeks to overturn the clear public support that the runway extension enjoys.

“This legal challenge delays much needed investment in our local economy and casts a shadow over hundreds of jobs. I hope that the airport will receive permission to move ahead.”

Mr Szalay added: “The runway extension is a key part of our plans for the future of the airport and will deliver significant economic and employment opportunities.

“In light of the extensive scrutiny and public consultations undertaken by Eastleigh Borough Council, we are confident that the Courts will back the Council’s decision to approve the runway application.”

Those behind the legal challenge were approached for comment but were unable to respond before the Echo went to press.