RECRIMINATIONS broke out during a Rushmoor Council meeting this week as councillors met to give the final go ahead to the development of Farnborough airfield.
Faced with a delayed decision from November, the development control committee decided to approve conditions relating to the Local Plan which are designed to address the safety of Farnborough and the surrounding area.
However, a number of councillors voted against the proposals.
The decision to postpone approval of safety measures allowed time for consultants Halcrow to consider various safety issues.
However, Cllr Patrick Kirby, who has long demanded a study into the safety of the community under the flight path, was still not convinced the work was up to scratch.
“When the committee met on December 18 it was advised that it was unsafe to proceed because work by ERM on three occasions was found to be faulty,” he said.
“I have a fundamental concern for this council in consideration of this issue at this stage.”
He asked his colleagues whether they thought proper consideration had been given to the development.
Rounding on Halcrow and council officers he said: “These are the same people who produced a document which said that at Farnborough there was no third party risk.
“I find that completely unbelievable. This is a town that is wrapped around an airport.
“I cannot take seriously a report that comes from people like this.”
Responding to Cllr Kirby’s request that research carried out by local experts be taken into account, council officer Daryl Philips said that the consultant was not tasked to look at these safety submissions, but felt confident that Halcrow’s work was sound.
Speaking after the meeting Labour Cllr Don Cappleman said: “I believe that they have not met the requirements to keep the 1:10,000 risk contour inside the airport boundary.
“I think the study should have taken into account the number of people using the canal and travelling along the road at the western end.”
“I just do not think they were able to convince me about the level of risk,” he added.
During the meeting Cllr Paul Taylor asked whether residents could expect to see the number of flights limited to 28,000 per year if flying became statistically safer.
Commenting, chief executive Andrew Lloyd said: “That’s the limit and that’s the limit that we are sticking to.”
“I do not believe in the foreseeable future that there’s a likely to be a change.
“The protection is that it would have to go through a process that would lead to a change in the over all planning policy, but I genuinely believe that that is very speculative.”
However as the News reported last July, airfield operator TAG already has expansion in mind.
Its chief executive, Roger McMullin, said: “We would hope to have the community come to value us more and more as time goes by and at some time in the future I would hope they would approve of us increasing flight movements.”