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Scilly Cash Boost
4:22pm 13th August 2014
(Updated 4:22pm 13th August 2014)
Cornwall's link to the Isles of Scilly gets a cash boost.
Over £9m been announced to support transport to the island, and on them.
It includes more than £7m for the sealink from Penzance.
Penzance councillor and business lead Dick Cliffe has been campaigning for more back-up: "The islanders need some help and it's not unreasonable. We're not just talking about 2,200 islanders. We are talking about the economy of West Cornwall and about a much wider body of people who have an affinity with the islands who think it's a unique location in the UK that deserves an element of support."
He added that islanders have the most restricted transport service for decades: "They always had a winter service on the ferry. Well, we don't have that and now we don't have the helicopter. So now we have the light aircraft and the vagaries of the weather. It's an issue about the sustainability of the community as it currently is and it's also an issue about the economy"
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP visited the islands to announce that over £9m of Government investment has been allocated for essential works to improve the Isles of Scilly sea link and local road network. He announced a further £7.3m to improve the sea link facilities at St Mary's and Penzance.
Mr McLoughlin said: "Our small ports are vital to the livelihoods of the communities they serve and are the lifeblood of the local economy.
"The government has already provided significant funding to reverse the damage caused by an exceptionally wet and windy winter. I want to see this additional money help the recovery in these coastal towns."
Mr McLoughlin took a look at the new runways at both Land's End and St Mary's which it is hoped will significantly the number of delays and cancellations to the fixed-wing service.
The mobilisation of a batching plant for asphalt to resurface the airport runways has also created an opportunity to improve the local road network for the first time in 40 years. A further £1.8m will be made available to this programme of works.
Mr McLoughlin said: "This funding will make a huge difference to the people of Scilly and also to visitors to the island, so vital to the local economy. Good transport links and high quality infrastructure are key for the island.
"These improvements will not only make it easier for those living on the islands to get about, but will also benefit those visiting the Scilly Isles, which is very important for the local economy."
Chairman of the Council of the Isles of Scilly, Amanda Martin, said: "I am delighted the Secretary of State recognizes the leadership the Council has taken in driving these projects forward. I also welcome the news that Mr McLoughlin is visiting the islands to witness for himself these essential projects which will have a positive impact on the daily lives of islanders and visitors for many years to come."
Nigel Blackler, Head of Strategy, Economy, Enterprise and Environment at Cornwall Council, said “The harbour improvements proposed at St Mary’s and Penzance will help safeguard the future of the sea link by creating deeper water berths which will increase the range of vessels which could potentially provide the service in the future.
Today’s announcement means works to carry out dredging at Penzance and pier widening and improving freight handling facilities at St Mary’s can go ahead as soonthere is formal confirmation of the Convergence funding.
The scheme has been developed by a partnership including Cornwall Council, Council of the Isles of Scilly, Penzance Town Council, Duchy of Cornwall, Isles of Scilly Steamship Company and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, with support from West Cornwall MP Andrew George.
Chris Pomfret, chairman of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Having a resilient transport link is vital to the islands’ economy and for unlocking future growth. This project will have lasting benefits and we are pleased the Secretary of State has recognised the case we and our partners have been making for this crucial investment. We have also had the opportunity to raise wider transport issues during his visit to the region.”
Rob Goldsmith, chief executive of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, which operates passenger and freight services between Penzance and St Mary’s, said: “This is very welcome news. It will improve flexibility for our ship operations at both ends of the route and enhance the overall passenger experience, especially at St Mary’s. Combined with ongoing investment at Land’s End and St Mary’s airports this further strengthens transport links to the islands.”4:22pm 13th August 2014
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