The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG) is calling for a major consultation on the future of transport links to the Isles of Scilly.
This comes after Penzance Heliport Ltd announced in a statement they would be re-submitting a planning application for a heliport In Penzance "to reduce uncertainty to the islands and the expense to Cornish taxpayers of going through the lengthy judicial review process."
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company were granted a judicial review into Cornwall Council's decision to initially grant permission for the heliport to go ahead earlier on in the year.
Andrew May, Chairman of the Steamship Group, said: “We recognise that customers want enhanced and more reliable transport links to the islands and we hope that today’s decision will act as a catalyst for a much wider debate about the need for an agreed plan to achieve this."
“The Steamship Company is committed to a major schedule of investment, including a replacement for the Scillonian III, and would welcome an opportunity for the whole community to work together to deliver an affordable, sustainable and reliable transport solution for Scilly that includes a new helicopter service.”
The call has the support of business leaders who say there needs to be a clear transport plan for the islands. David Jackson, Executive Director of the Islands’ Partnership, said: “With the islands embarking on a major study of what’s needed to sustain and grow its visitor economy, it is a timely opportunity to use this process to help inform the debate."
However, what is important for now is that we do everything possible to encourage and secure continued investment in all forms of transport including the commitment to a potential new helicopter service. A more resilient and sustainable transport system remains vital to the future of these islands."
Following on from this Kim Conchie, Chief Executive of the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce, added: “I have followed the helicopter debate closely and believe the time has come to get round the table and look at the bigger question of how to sustain a remote island community for future generations.”
Andrew May later added: “Neither the Islands nor Penzance can afford a repeat of the collapsed helicopter service that we saw five years ago and we all need to look at what’s in the best long-term interests of the islands."
“Now is a real opportunity for everyone involved in this debate to come together to create a clearer vision for the islands’ transport needs, including a sustainable helicopter service that many people want to see. We are ready and willing to play our part in that by helping to facilitate helicopters from Land’s End Airport. We have already offered discounted charges and a service level agreement to ensure transparent and fair operational standards.”
It's been am eventful week for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group with the incident involving the Mali Rose last Saturday and Chief Executive Rob Goldsmith announcing he will be stepping down.
We're hoping to speak to Andrew May, Chairman of the Steamship Group next week. Tune in locally on 107.9fm and listen to online at radioscilly.com for the latest on these stories.