THE majority of people in Rayleigh are against the expansion of Southend Airport, a town councillor has claimed.

Plans have been put forward to increase the capacity of the airport, with an action plan suggesting four options. They range from doing nothing to either extending the business park or the airport runway.

Five companies are currently waiting to hear who will be given the lease of the new airport and yesterday airport boss Alastair Welch said there was still no news about the deal.

A full meeting of Rayleigh Town Council on Monday night heard councillors express their views on the expansion plans.

Former town council chairman David Geach (Con, Central) said: “Most people in the town are happy with the airport as it is. They don’t want any increase in the number of aircraft and the noise it would bring.”

Tony Humphries (Con, Central) said it was likely once the new airport leaseholder had been revealed, there would be substantial expansion.

Mr Humphries said it was important improvements were made to the road and rail infrastructure around the airport to cope with any future increase in traffic.

Ron Choppen (Con Wheatley) said: “I am all in favour of the airport expanding.”

He added it was important because of the number of people employed there.