Councillors ‘Concerned’ Over Plans To End Funding For Islands’ Partnership

town hall 11The Council will continue to run Scilly’s airport after the deadline for finding a new operator expired.

But councillors have expressed concern over plans by the authority to withdraw funding for the Islands’ Partnership, the organisation set up to promote tourism and business-related activities.

Councillors made the controversial decision last year to hand back the lease on the airport to the Duchy of Cornwall.

The Duchy has been searching for a new operator but at the recent Transport, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee meeting, Head of Infrastructure Craig Dryden confirmed that no-one had come forward.

It means the council will now continue to operate the facility.

Craig said passenger numbers were up slightly on the previous year, to “just short” of 70,000.

But Cllr Marian Bennett questioned why the council was planning to end its funding for the Islands’ Partnership when there’s “an obvious need for growth in passengers.”

Craig said that the Council’s responsibility was to make sure the airport is operationally safe – not marketing or increasing passenger numbers. That was down to the private sector, he said.

Cllr Gaz O’Neil said he didn’t agree with the decision to withdraw funding for the IP, “which was agreed to,” by the Council.

But Council Chairman Amanda Martin disputed this, saying councillors should, “look at what the Council has actually done and said, not what is alleged to have happened.”

“If the information had been forthcoming to members we might know what was said and done rather than what was alleged to have been done,” responded Gaz.

Cllr James Francis said councillors were “extremely concerned about this move” but he understood a decision would come to a future committee.

Head of Economic Development, Diana Mompoloki confirmed that. She said the decision would be made as part of the upcoming budget-setting process.

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