Steamship Chief Exec Says Runway Hardening Possible Without Planning

Steamship Company chief executive, Jeff Marston

The chief executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company says he now believes they could harden the runway surface at Land’s End without going through a lengthy planning process.

The company’s planes have experienced significant disruption over the past two weeks due to waterlogging of the runway, resulting in renewed calls for a hard surface at the site.

However, previous attempts to do this have resulted in strong local opposition.

At the Transport Committee meeting yesterday, Jeff Marston, told members that they’ve consulted with experts who believe hardening the runway surface would fall within so called ‘Permitted Development Rights.’ Only creation of a new runway would require planning.

Jeff said the rules covered the new terminal building and parking facilities, although he added this comes at a cost. The airport has to meet the strict operating requirements imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority.

They’ll shortly be trialling a 900sqm patch of special paving tiles to see if that works on the surface at Land’s End.

People have asked why they’ve rebuilt the terminal before hardening the runway, he said, but that decision was made before the helicopter pullout was known.

Mr Marston said the timescale for the work will depend on the cost and whether they can afford it.

The Council’s strategic investment manager, Diana Mompoloki, said she would do what she could to help the company locate suitable sources of funding for the work as she had done for St Mary’s airport.

It’s thought the work could cost in the region of £1.5m and European grants may be sourced for the job.


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