LEP Chairman Says Scilly’s Businesses Don’t Want Helicopter Back

LEP Chairman, Chris Pomfret

LEP Chairman, Chris Pomfret

The Chairman of the Local Enterprise Partnership says Scilly’s tourism businesses don’t want the helicopters back because the competition could damage Skybus.

The LEP is the government appointed body that aims to aid economic growth on the islands and in Cornwall and they can fund major projects.

Chris Pomfret chaired their board on St Mary’s on Tuesday and afterwards hosted a Scilly business meeting.

He says none of the locals there wanted a Skybus rival in the air because they felt that would make both the existing and any new company unviable.

Chris said there were Steamship Company personnel present but they didn’t join in with this part of the discussion.

From Radio Scilly

LEP Chairman Chris Pomfret talks to Radio Scilly.

But he says some of the locals did suggest that a helicopter service would be beneficial if run by Skybus.

Chris believes the support that the LEP has given the Steamship Company for a hard runway at Land’s End and their funding of St Mary’s Airport upgrades means that Scilly’s transport is now more resilient than it was three years ago.

He says the old arguments for restoring the rotary service, such as flying in worse weather and being able to carry medical patients, have now been solved.

And he feels it would be difficult to invest in helicopters after spending so much money on the existing route.

The LEP Chairman says he’s also unconvinced that the business case for a helicopter service stacks up.

He’s been party to the discussions about the service and says he’s “yet to see something that looks like a sensible business plan.”

Chris says Scilly has a great deal of input into setting LEP economic policies.

It is separate from the two Local Authorities in the region and is an independent body, which works in partnership with them.

Although Scilly’s LEP liaison is a Council officer, that’s just down to island practicalities, Chris says.

And while he accepts that the LEP isn’t a democracy, Scilly does have democratic input into setting their policy.

The Council Chief Executive Theo Leijser and the Chairman of Policy and Resources, that’s now Cllr Steve Sims, can attend meetings.

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