MP Criticises Cornwall Council Over Heliport Planning

Andrew George, MP

Scilly’s MP, Andrew George, has criticised Cornwall County Council for taking the decision to close the Penzance heliport before securing a suitable alternative site.

This follows the news on Friday that British International Helicopters had withdrawn their planning application for a new heliport in St Erth after facing strong local opposition.

Last month, Sainsbury’s secured planning permission to build a supermarket on the current heliport site, which BIH says it must sell to inject cash into the business.

In a statement, Mr George said, “The helicopter service is essential to the islands. The handling of recent decisions has put this in jeopardy.

“If the object was to secure the future of the helicopter service then making BIH homeless before finding them a new home is a strange way of going about it.”

He says he will seek a rethink of the policy approach to the issue of air links to the Isles of Scilly.

Mr George also said “Penzance has been left with the worst of both worlds. The effective ending of the helicopter service and the building of yet another out of town supermarket; the combined influence of both will be devastating to the town.”

He added, “The helicopter service brings millions (of pounds) in to the town. Another supermarket will suck the life blood out of it.”

The Council of the Isles of Scilly issued a statement saying they understand the decision “has caused some disquiet on the islands.”

Chairman of the Council, Mike Hicks said, “We want to reassure everyone that these latest developments do not mean the imminent demise of the service. We are doing everything we can to ensure that the right solution for the islands, the company and our neighbours in West Cornwall is found.”