Monday 4 June 2018

June 2018 Update - helicopters and new interest from ministers

The past few weeks have seen many developments with implications for future transport links between Scilly and the mainland.  The planning application from Tresco Estate for a new heliport in Penzance with the prospect of future flights to and from both Tresco and St. Mary’s was widely welcomed by the community and visitors.  Planning approval was granted by Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee only to be superceded by the Steamship Group’s application for judicial review being accepted.  Sadly, the ‘JR’ will delay the Penzance heliport project by a year but the ensuing anger resulted in a petition, organised by St. Mary’s islander Samantha Mallon, being signed by 11,800 people.  Meanwhile, the Steamship Group seized the opportunity to announce its own helicopter service to operate from Land’s End airport starting in May.   The news was not met with the same support accorded to the Tresco scheme for several reasons:

o   Land’s End Airport is more prone to fog and poor visibility than the Penzance site

o   Land’s End Airport is difficult to access via long and winding country lanes from Penzance town and railway station

o   The IOSSG proposed helicopter is smaller than that planned for the Tresco scheme, carrying a maximum of 9 passengers   

The IOSSG’s service ‘Island Helicopters’ started on 21st May, not as a regular scheduled service with full paying passengers but as a charter service without the use of full airport facilities.  The press coverage was mixed as there were few supporters to welcome the new helicopter .

See FRIST article 22 May 18  'Island Helicopters service won't work' here


Marian Bennett 
Frist Co-ordinator

FRIST aims to achieve affordable, reliable all year round lifeline transport links between the Isles of Scilly and the mainland "to sustain the community and the tourism based economy upon which the community depends".

An amended planning application for the Penzance heliport site was submitted and is due to be decided by the Cornwall Council Strategic Planning Committee on 28 June.  FRIST strongly supports the application, considering that it represents a proposal bringing real improvements for passengers:

Greater weather resilience, particularly during the winter when, last year, 29% of flying hours from Land’s End were disrupted, mostly by poor visibility 

The location of the proposed heliport offers better accessibility by road and rail, with close transfer to the ship when flying is totally ruled out

1 comment:

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