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PHOTOS: New planning bid for Penzance heliport

helicopter
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3:43pm 14th September 2017
(Updated 3:43pm 14th September 2017)

There are calls for a major consultation on transport to the islands... amid claims planning permission for Cornwall's heliport has been pulled.

The decision to green-light Penzance was facing a judicial review - but now The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group says that is off.

But Cornwall Council says planning permission can only be quashed by the High Court, and that they have not been told that this has happened.

If it did happen, the Council would have to reconsider the planning application.

The group behind the original bid is putting in a new application though.

It comes after Pirate FM told you a judicial review over Cornwall Council's decision was being allowed in June.

That is despite a petition against the legal bid, which has notched up more than seven and a half thousand signatures.

proposed scilly helicopter base

An amended planning application for a heliport in Penzance will be submitted to Cornwall Council in the coming weeks.

The group behind it says it aims to reduce uncertainty to the islands and the expense to Cornish taxpayers of going through the lengthy judicial review process.

Robert Dorrien-Smith is leading the proposals to reinstate the Isles of Scilly helicopter service and said: “Islanders, visitors and businesses on Scilly are desperate to know when the new service will be up and running, but a judicial review can take months to even get to court, let alone be resolved.

“To us this uncertainty and cost to the taxpayer is totally unacceptable and therefore the best course of action is to consent to judgment and submit an amended application.

“This will allow us to address any issues the judge indicated could be arguable, save Cornwall rate-payers money and bring about a quicker resolution to this project that the islands are so desperate to see come to fruition".

scilly helicopter link 1

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.”

heliport 1 AW139 Helicopter

The new 15-seater choppers would fly seven days a week and ferry people across to the islands on 15 minute journeys, departing roughly every 45 minutes.

Around 30 new jobs are expected to be created by the scheme and it is hoped flights will commence in spring next year.

Andrew May 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.”

isles of scilly st mary's

Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee gave the project the go ahead in February following a public consultation which saw over 2600 letters of support from the public.

That is the highest level of support the Council has ever seen for a planning application.

The project also received support from bodies including the Council of the Isles of Scilly, the Duchy of Cornwall, Visit Cornwall, Penzance Town Council and the islands' destination management organisation, the Islands' Partnership.

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.”

Now The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group is calling for a major consultation on the future of transport links to the Isles of Scilly.

In a statement, Cornwall Council said: "The planning permission can only be quashed by Order from the High Court, and the Council has not received confirmation from the Court that the Order has been made.

"Following receipt of the Order from the Court quashing the planning permission the Council would then have to re-consider the planning application including whether or not the planning application should be granted."

3:43pm 14th September 2017

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