‘Transformational’ Helicopter Service For Scilly Will Launch In 2018 After Planners Approve Heliport
Passenger helicopters will return to the skies of Scilly next year after Cornwall planners today voted unanimously to approve the application for a new heliport in Penzance.
The £2m scheme off Jelbert Way and adjacent to the site of the former heliport at Eastern Green, is expected to create around 30 permanent jobs.
Tresco owner Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is one of the main investors in the project, said, “Naturally, we are delighted. Today’s decision marks the start of the project that we believe will bring about a revival for the islands and dramatic improvements for their residents, businesses and visitors.”
Cornwall Council received over 2,600 messages of support for the project – the most it has ever received for a planning application.
“The volume – but also the content – of the public support demonstrates without a doubt the importance of this project to the future of tourism on Scilly, and in Cornwall as a whole,” added Robert.
“We want to take this opportunity to thank all those who shared often very personal reasons for supporting the reinstatement of this lifeline service.”
Penzance Town Councillor Dick Cliffe, who has campaigned for better links between Scilly and Penzance, welcomed the news. Dick said, “This is a strategically important development for the Isles of Scilly and it provides important economic benefits for Penzance. The approval of Penzance Heliport is a shot in the arm for Penzance, and is potentially transformational for the Isles of Scilly.”
The company says the service is expected to launch in spring 2018, operated by state-of-the-art AW139 helicopters into both St Mary’s and Tresco.
However, not everyone is pleased with the decision.
In a statement sent to ScillyToday, Rob Goldsmith, Chief Executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, said the company is, “disappointed with today’s outcome.”
The Steamship Company, which currently offers sea and air passenger and freight services to the islands, submitted a report to planners detailing how the rival helicopter service could affect the company and the economy of the islands.
Following today’s decision, Mr Goldsmith said: “We have always said that we are not afraid of competition and we will compete robustly with any new operator. The longer term consequences for sustained investment in the Scilly’s transport system and the resulting implications for the community remain to be seen.”
He added: “We note that approval is subject to a decision regarding whether or not the application is called in by the Secretary of State.”