Councillors Discuss Laundry Charge For Stranded Passengers

Councillors have discussed whether visitors stranded by weather and who are put up in emergency overnight Council accommodation, like Carn Thomas Hall, or Mundesley House, should be charged £13 to cover the cost of cleaning their loaned duvet.

Marian Bennett told councillors last night that in the spirit of true hospitality, visitors unable to leave shouldn’t have to pay.

She suggested that Council Chairman, Mike Hicks should write to the transport companies and Islands Tourism to request both cash for clean bedding and personnel to help when people are stranded. Amanda Martin thought the airlines could meet 50% of the cost.

But Rhona Holland, who deals with emergency planning, said the transport operators do give free support. They ferry passengers down from the airport.

Philip Hygate felt Council staff were left to make sure passengers stuck here were accommodated and they often worked late. He said the travel companies seem to help out fogbound travellers more at Penzance and stay at work until everyone is sorted but could do more here, adding he has a feeling about being taken for granted.

Philip said the industry could at least provide good bedding. Enough appears dumped at Moorwell before the start of the season.

But he did add that by taking care of stranded visitors we protect our islands’ reputation and said that Cornwall Council wouldn’t offer the same service to visitors unable to fly from over there.

All members seemed to want to leave visitors with a good impression and Chris Thomas said he reduces his guest house rate to £25 in such cases but he says he is disappointed by businesses who up their rates to capitalise on the situation.

Strandings will occur more often with just one helicopter operating, warned councillor David Pearson and he says many insurance policies don’t deal with domestic delays.

But even with a free space in a Council building, the laundry costs remain. Dudley Mumford suggested that people could be asked to pay voluntarily to gauge reaction before making it mandatory.

With so many views expressed, they deferred the decision until next meeting. That will give Council staff time to talk with Islands Tourism, British International Helicopters and Skybus about funding.


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