PLANS to expand Southampton Airport might not be discussed until September, a civic chief has claimed.

Cllr Keith House, leader at Eastleigh Borough Council, said the proposals to expand the runway at Southampton Airport by 164 metres, might not be discussed until September at the earliest.

Airport bosses said at the start of June that they were working towards a July date.

They also confirmed that a new public consultation will be launched with further details set to be revealed in the coming weeks.

An extra 600 parking spaces could also be added to the existing long stay car park as part of the proposals.

Bosses at Southampton Airport said they worked tirelessly to get details ready for determination.

The final decision on the plans will be made by civic chiefs at Eastleigh Borough Council.

But Cllr House said: “The council has always seen the airport as a significant contributor to the local economy.

“But airport expansion is complex and has to be considered very carefully. There are no simple yes or no answers.

“The further consultation with more details will enable more information to be considered. Residents will be able to take part in this, in writing, just as they usually would regardless of the pandemic. So it is likely to be September at the earliest that the Local Area Committee will be able to consider the application and regardless of if this is in a meeting room or on-line, residents will be able to take part.”

Eenvironmental campaigners and both Southampton and Winchester city councils have raised concerns over noise and air pollution.

But the airport defended the plans and vowed to grow “sustainably”.

Following Cllr House’s comment, a spokesperson for Southampton Airport, said: “We are working with the council to determine the best date and doing all we can to ensure they and the public have all the information available to enable a positive decision to be made as soon as possible and practicable.

“We have worked tirelessly to get everything ready for determination, but the Covid pandemic has meant the whole country has had to be agile and adapt, and this is no different. We are hugely hopeful for the future.”

The airport said the expansion would create 400 jobs.Last week it announced that domestic flights will resume this month.