Conservative Candidate Says Transport Improvements Now Need To Focus On Penzance

Derek Thomas

Derek Thomas

The Conservative candidate hoping to become Scilly’s next MP says Penzance needs to be the focus of better transport links to the islands.

Derek Thomas told Radio Scilly that improving the Scillonian III passenger and freight experience, and the cost, is his number one priority.

Derek says as an MP, he can have limited influence on the ticket price, but improving the overall passenger experience will increase traveller numbers and keep fares low.

He says it’s “not a huge expense to go on the Scillonian III ” and that if he’s driving to London, he’ll be paying a similar figure.

Derek says he’s keen to regenerate the whole Mount’s Bay area, including improvements to the quay in Penzance where the Scillonian docks.

He says there are lots of things that can be done to improve the current situation there, with overtopping in poor weather and forklift trucks driving close to passengers.

Derek feels that Scilly and Penzance are linked and it will be mutually beneficial to both economies to get it right on the mainland.

We want visitors to spend some money in Penzance on their way to Scilly, says Derek, so it’s in everyone’s interest to present the best possible facilities.

Derek is hoping that better transport links will also encourage more companies to relocate to the area and bring skilled jobs with them.

He says he recently visited Skybus’s operations at Land’s End and while a huge amount of investment has gone in to the site, they can’t get the skilled workers they need.

Derek will be coming to Scilly in April to talk to people on their doorsteps. He says he prefers this approach because he can find out privately about people’s concerns.

And while there are no plans yet to bring any “big guns” down from the Conservative party to help drum up support in the marginal seat, he says these things usually happen at the last minute.

This is the list of all of the candidates for the General Election in the St Ives constituency which covers Scilly:
Tim Andrewes – Green Party
Graham Calderwood – UK Independence Party
Andrew George – Liberal Democrats
Cornelius Olivier – Labour Party
Rob Simmons –  Mebyon Kernow
Derek Thomas – Conservative Party

12 Responses to Conservative Candidate Says Transport Improvements Now Need To Focus On Penzance

  1. Rod Ward April 5, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    So you think Mr. Thomas is desperate for votes, Stuart?
    Not as desperate as Andrew George who keeps peddling the myth of the helicopter returning. That’s not playing to the gallery…..that’s playing to the whole audience, the cast and people not even at the show.

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins April 7, 2015 at 9:23 am

      I don’t think we need to go into the desperation of each candidate Rod. Mr Thomas’s leaflet seems to quote the exact same “plans” as AG has for the last five years as if they were his own! In fact all the candidates look like they have simply trawled through the pages of Scilly today for vote winning soundbites! Transport easily tops that list so what a surprise! If the SSco want to corner the market then they need to step up to the mark and so far the eventual improvements to the runway at LE after three years disruption, is the only significant development. Two thirty seat helicopters left and one twin otter took their place, the ship lost 25% of its capacity and the only links with the cities of Bristol & Southampton were discontinued at a time when we were allegedly pushing the short breaks market!There is no way the situation can be described as improved, the situation that is, which was seeing a steady decline in numbers for the preceding decade!

  2. Beverley White April 2, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    I can understand NNES your frustration about not being able to get a discount. Like you Skybus has had our money since January for flights in April for Walk Scilly. We discovered when the programme was published that we could have received a discount.
    If I remember correctly there was always an incentive to book tickets by the end of December for the following year.
    Yes is it an expensive journey but I will continue to make it for as long as possible because Scilly has that something special that money can’t buy.

  3. Ray Wornes April 2, 2015 at 10:37 am

    We have a private transport company monopoly that operates both plane and boat services, that refuses a dialogue with the community, that doesn’t provide an early morning, fast and cheap boat service from St. Mary’s to Penz., that refuses to lower fares through a PSO despite receiving public funds, that provides only a day tripper morning boat service from Penz which operates the wrong timetable for locals’ and visitors’ needs, that doesn’t link up with the trains in Penz. and can cost travellers overnight stays. This discourages tourists or drives passengers on to the company’s more expensive planes. This must be damaging tourism. Having an aircraft and a boat service run by the same company with no competition disadvantages this community. We have a local consumer group called FRIST that in my opinion isn’t representing passengers’ needs. We have a Local Authority that won’t fight for lower fares or a change to transport services like they have in Scotland and you come along Derek with vague promises of help offering almost nothing. So what use would you be in tackling the transport problems of this Isles of Scilly community? A new early morning, fast boat service to Penz. would be much cheaper and would help locals and tourists and would compete with the more expensive aircraft service. These are the sorts of problems you get with a private company monopoly whose main aim is to restrict services in order to maximise profits. Hopefully one day we will get an independent non-profit making public boat service that works for the customers. Despite your good intentions Derek, you are offering very little on transport.

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins April 3, 2015 at 9:10 am

      I must disagree with you on parts of your comment Ray. A non profit making transport company will not bring about lower fares as I explained on another post. Even the companies running the Scottish ferries make a profit- it is the necessary incentive for work and investment! I agree the Councils roll is totally inadequate but this can hardly be surprising with the highly prevalent nimby”i’m alright jack” attitudes we have in the islands Thats not just transport solutions but housing and renewable energy,schooling, planning and no doubt many more. Everybody’s needs are different and nobody said striking a balance was going to be easy or would satisfy everyone. Having the ideas isn’t the hard part, stumping up the cash and developing sustainable models is. High speed ferries are notorious for losing money unless they are operating at maximum efficiency from hubs in well connected areas with large passenger volumes. Such a notion is a bit of a joke for Scilly! I think that EU funding could have been used to purchase multiple vessels to increase options and cater for variable demand and hopefully improve efficiency . Nearly half the SSco turnover is wages which seems a lot. Perhaps the service could be made more efficient with better planning in the harbour development, I’m not sure RO RO would necessarily be applicable to Scilly but something surely?
      I can quite understand the SSco reluctance to use public funding and then get all the comments about how they should be providing a free service in return for what is in fact only a part of the cost. That doesn’t mean I think its ok to hold everyone else to ransom by getting support for a monopoly from the people who should be looking out for the public’s interests!I think the first step is a little mutual respect for other peoples requirements which is evidently totally lacking in the comments we get on here regarding the off islands especially!
      Unfortunately for you ,big business,Conservative policy in the islands is fairly assured with the Liberal vote fragmenting into Lab, Green and UKIP, none of which has any realistic chance of winning!

  4. PHJ March 31, 2015 at 9:16 am

    The cost of getting to Scilly has been addressed many, many times. I have one small point to add – the reason we started to travel by plane instead of Scillonian or helicopter, was that parking at Lands End was free! Who can remember that? It has gradually increased. No surprise there, but when you visit for several weeks you can add on another not inconsiderable cost.
    FYI I can travel from local station to London, over 300 miles, First Class for £25. To Med. from Manchester £90 with legroom and baggage.
    Now, let me think, why do we keep coming to Scilly? We all know the answer. The question is how much longer can we keep coming?

    • NNES March 31, 2015 at 6:51 pm

      The ISSCo are offering kids go free this week – I booked my tickets in January so can’t take advantage of the offer – thats about £100 in the issco coffers that I won’t be spending on the islands and a downer on the start of my holiday.

  5. Stuart Moore March 30, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    Derek Thomas told Radio Scilly that improving the Scillonian III passenger and freight experience, and the cost, is his number one priority…….Really, his number one priority,
    improving the Scillonian III passenger and freight experience, and the cost is more important to him that all the other issues on the mainland (when I say issues I mean voters)

    I find that hard to believe, and wonder perhaps if Mr Thomas is just playing to the gallery, telling people what they want to hear so they’ll stupidly vote for him.
    When you consider that the west Cornwall constituency has around 64,000 voters, it makes you realise just how desperate they must be if the the Tories are wasting time on the 2000 or so voters over here

  6. Meagain March 30, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    ” It’s not a huge expense to go on the Scillonian III ” – not, at least, if you’re on an MP’s salary…

  7. Paul March 30, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    When I mean a day trip, I mean via the Scillonian! Not by plane. That would be out of the question!

  8. Paul March 30, 2015 at 1:00 pm

    For the cost of a day trip to Scilly from Penzance I can travel from Penzance to Plymouth by rail and to Brittany for the day!

  9. Adam Morton, St.Martins March 30, 2015 at 11:14 am

    “Keep fares low”! They really are not low- A fare to Coll is £20.30 as apposed to SCIII which is £94. From liverpool to Man is £36. If you drive from London you will be paying that figure ON TOP not instead! Bringing the islands in line with mainland standards will bankrupt them if nothing is done! Wages are already lower than the mainland but costs are becoming exactly the same + a huge extra cost in freight and fares- it simply doesn’t add up! The average wage is £16600. The average rent is £7000. The average extra cost in freight must be at least £1000 per person! The average family coming here must spend an extra £400 in travel on top of what they spent to get to Cornwall. That is money they then cannot spend on the islands. The Council and the government are obsessed with making us “legal” ,it has real repercussions that require a complete solution rather than washing their hands of the difficult bits!