Airport plans cause concern for villagers

BARROW Gurney Parish Council is calling for Bristol International Airport s plans to build a £7million walkway to be discussed by planning officers.

BARROW Gurney Parish Council is calling for Bristol International Airport's plans to build a £7million walkway to be discussed by planning officers.

The parish council has joined forces with Wrington Parish Council to object to the proposal, which they say will have a detrimental affect to the neighbouring villages.

The airport wants to build a walkway so passengers can walk from the terminal to planes under shelter, reducing the number of people being taken to aircraft in buses by 95 per cent.

A proposal for the structure has been submitted to North Somerset Council, but no formal planning permission is needed because BIA says the walkway falls under permitted development rights on the site.

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Barrow Gurney Parish Council chairman, Geoff Coombs, said: "This is a very significant structure, one third of a mile in length and two-three storeys high.

"It will include a number of passenger boarding lounges, so it could significantly increase passenger handling capacity.

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"The council is concerned that the consequence of this will be more passengers through the airport, which in turn means more traffic on village roads and more car parking."

At its meeting on January 14, the council agreed to lodge a formal objection to the development being handled outside the normal planning permission process and state that no further airport expansion should occur until the road network is improved.

Campaigning group Stop Bristol Airport Expansion (SBAE) is also calling for the airport to submit a full planning application to allow members of the public to give their views.

SBAE spokesman, Jeremy Birch, said the BIA had failed to submit any information about the impact the development would have on the local communities.

He said: "We believe that BIA has in fact applied for a terminal extension by stealth to push through further growth without formal planning permission.

"There has been huge local opposition to BIA's expansion plans. We are calling on North Somerset Council to back the public interest and ensure that these plans are properly scrutinised and don't slip through the back door."

But the BIA says the walkways will not include any seating and are merely a means of improving efficiency at the airport.

Spokesman James Gore said: "We completely reject that it's a terminal extension by stealth.

"We are following the planning guidelines and consulting with North Somerset Council.

"This is about improving efficiency and customer experience for existing customers, not about growing the size of the terminal.

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