To all the Leigh residents protesting against the airport expansion, put away your pens, your typewriters and your laptops.

It is, for practical purposes, a done deal.

At the Leigh Community Centre, when two representatives of Southend Council responded to the concerns of residents, it became clear that, irrespective of whether or not the runway is extended, the owners have always had the right under the terms of the airport lease to run as many planes and for as many hours as they find profitable and there is nothing the Council can now do to alter that fact.

It only remains to be decided what type of aircraft will be used relative to the runway length. It was also said any claims for compensation or rate reductions stand no chance of success.

I came away with no confidence that the many valid points made against the expansion will be given adequate representation in the final submission to the Government Inspector, especially when we were told Rochford Council were not happy with the decision of Southend Council to resend the consultation literature to those areas of Leigh which did not receive the original circulation.

The same people who presumably approved the glossy photo showing the airport runway pointing over green fields instead of the built up area affected.

Thus, despite a unanimous vote against the extension of the runway, our present relatively peaceful environment will soon become a memory, along with democracy.

Steve Askham
Elmsleigh Drive