HC Deb 12 March 1958 vol 584 cc420-1
56. Mr. J. Howard

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what representations he has received from Southampton Chamber of Commerce on the future of Southampton Airport, Eastleigh; and whether he has yet reached a conclusion about the future of that airport.

Mr. Neave

My right hon. Friend has recently received a letter from the Southampton Chamber of Commerce expressing concern about the effect of proposed railway developments on the future of the airport. A technical study of this complicated matter was already well advanced, and I intend to hold further consultations with interested parties, including the Southampton Corporation, as soon as possible.

Mr. Howard

May I thank my hon. Friend for that reply on a subject to which I know he has given considerable personal attention and ask him to speed up this matter? Does not he agree that without a hard runway there is no future for this airport?

Mr. Neave

I will do my best to speed up the discussions. My hon. Friend already knows that the problem of the construction of the new marshalling yards at Eastleigh at one end of the aerodrome raises a technical difficulty.

Dr. King

Will the Minister bear in mind that Southampton Airport is of great potential value to the economy, not only of Southampton but of Southern England, and that it should be possible to carry out the developments proposed at Eastleigh if the rail were diverted slightly to allow the airport to remain for subsequent development?

Mr. Neave

I will bear that in mind, and the hon. Member may be assured that we are trying to solve this problem as soon as possible.