‘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.”

9 Responses to ‘Transformational’ Helicopter Service For Scilly Will Launch In 2018 After Planners Approve Heliport

  1. jcombe February 3, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Tremendous news, well done to all involved in this. I thought that sadly once the site in Penzance had gone and the site in St Erth rejected, it was the end. Glad to be proved wrong.

  2. Pauline Jackson February 2, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    Well done to those who have carried forward this application. Best wishes for it’s successful completion. We look forward to using the new service after more than 30 years flying on the previous one.

  3. Peter February 2, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    Curb your excitement. I don’t see that this can be declared good news until the fares are announced. I gather the new helicopter will carry fewer passengers than the old one and maintenance costs for a helicopter are much higher than for a plane, so unless the new service can undercut Skybus I suspect there may not be much new custom. Also, and I can’t believe no one is saying this, it seems it’s great news for Mr Dorrien Smith and his Tresco empire as he can now fly his customers directly to Tresco, but in one sense, bad news for businesses on St Mary’s who might lose trade as a result.

    • Adam Morton, St.Martins February 3, 2017 at 11:37 am

      The fares have been announced, they are from £220 against a skybus £160.

      • Tresco Traveller February 3, 2017 at 11:42 am

        That’s a bhargain dharling. Quick Tarquin, get mummy’s credit card…

      • Marge February 3, 2017 at 1:41 pm

        Don’t worry Adam the IOSSCo will raise their prices accordingly!

  4. Mrs Jan Rowberry February 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Common sense prevails finally. Great news for Scilly.

  5. Gordon Marsden February 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    As one of those who put pen to paper, and now one amongst whom Mr. Dorrien-Smith is thanking, I could not be more pleased with this forward-thinking planning department decision. Well done to those involved on all sides, and good luck with the project and for the improved futures of Penzance and Scilly.

  6. David Ticehurst February 2, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    The best news for Scilly for years