Business Owner Wants More Done Over Mail Delays

Churchtown Farm

The co-owner of Scilly’s biggest mail order business feels more could be done to get deliveries to the mainland by air in bad weather.

Ben Julian of Churchtown Farm on St Martin’s says the current Skybus arrangements, which use Land’s End airport for mail, are problematic.

Ben says waterlogging and fog are the, ‘Achilles heel’ of Land’s End and he’d rather Newquay was used as a contingency plan.

Mail arriving since Saturday is unlikely to be delivered until at least tomorrow. The Steamship Company will decide whether the Gry Maritha can sail with the backlog at 3pm today.

Ben says his flowers are fine for three days in the post and his company guarantees replacement or refund, without question, after two days.

Most customers are understanding, because of our location, but sometimes birthdays and special occasions can be missed. Ben says it’s important that an alternative plan is put in place to carry freight by air to Newquay.

There are only restrictions if you want there to be restrictions, he says.

Ben says he has spoken to the Steamship Company recently about his concerns. Their commercial manager, Nick Sanders, told us last night that the mail contract was put together before he arrived at the company in April. They are following what they been asked to provide by Royal Mail, ‘to the letter’ he says.

Nick says arranging alternative airport provision would not be a Steamship Company decision but would need to be requested by their client, Royal Mail.

At the moment, Islander planes are used to transfer freight and they are based at Land’s End.

Despite the recent disruption, Ben feels it is better that problems with the new contract are being experienced now, instead of the flower farmers’ busiest week, which for him is the week beginning 17th December. Then they’ll dispatch around 18,500 boxes of flowers to the mainland.


9 Responses to Business Owner Wants More Done Over Mail Delays

  1. al November 28, 2012 at 7:14 am

    Wouldn’t a helicopter service to a terminal with good connections to Penzance station solve it?

  2. Nobby Nobbs November 27, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Perhaps Skybus would do better to get them a licence and then spend the money building a runway there rather than Landsend and perhaps buy that system where the computer lands the plane just like 90% of all the UK’s commercial flights then fog and low cloud wouldn’t be a problem.

  3. Roger P November 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    Truro already has an Airport and like Lands End it is grass and 400ft elevation. Only one runway just 540 metres long so same problems with water logging, same problems with low cloud but more problems with cross winds. At the moment it is unlicensed so can only be used for privte flights.

  4. ritchie November 27, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Whilst we rake over the ashes of this burnt out ruin wondering who is and what is to blame – what is absolutely clear the fire extinguishers along with people who know how to use them competantly should have been installed at least 2 years ago when the smoke detectors were bleeping. Its not nuclear science just plain old contingency planning for the what ifs ! Freds idea which has been discussed before is pretty much on the money !

    • Adam Morton,St.Martins November 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      Given how much hoo ha was generated over knocking a hole in the wall at penzance! I cant see putting in an airport going down too well.Its bound to be in somones backyard.Of course it makes sence but since when is that a concideration?

  5. Fred Colon November 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm

    Why not build a runway and a small terminal just outside Truro next to the park and ride carpark.
    Most people want to go to Truro,
    Lots of the medicals are at Treliske,
    Visitors would save 45mins travel time not having to drive past Truro to get to Lands end.
    Newquay is in the middle of nowhere with poor transport links, whereas Truro has a mainline station with direct services to the capital, Bristol and the Midlands.
    The Royal Mail centre for Cornwall is in Truro
    There are shops in Truro

    It makes sense for the ios council and Skybus to look into whether this could be feasible.
    Our council seem to get grants for just about everything else, why not a small airport in Truro

  6. Rob Brown November 27, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Surely as “Islands Own Airline”, serving Islanders and visitors alike, it would be nice if Skybus would look to improving the service rather than waiting for royal mail to change the contract. Why don’t they request a change themselves, it makes sense to all concerned. Why can’t they apply for a hardened runway (again), the argument that there will be an increase in flights can’t hold water now as come the summer and dry weather, there will be increased flights anyway with the helicopter gone. People will soon start voting with their feet and book to Newquay, medicals will be done a day in advance and questions will be asked of the NHS about overnight stays and the costs involved. Then Skybus will have a lovely new 1.5 million pound development at Lands End with just a handful of people using it.

    • Adam Morton,St.Martins November 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      Perhaps this would be somthing the FRIST could push on! seems silly having the terminal with no proper runway!I would think that would be a really useful & possible thing to do. as you say there is increased flights in summer anyway,It could just cause an accident.

    • IanT November 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      Surely the Steamship Company should have realised the shortcomings of agreeing to a contract involving just Lands End. We will be flying from Newquay for the same and obvious reasons.