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Meeting to decide future of Penzance Heliport is cancelled

Penzance Heliport Ltd

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 2:55pm 20th June 2018.

By Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

A planning committee meeting which was expected to decide whether a new heliport could be built in Penzance has been cancelled.

Cornwall Council’s strategic planning committee was due to meet next Thursday June 28 and was expected to have the Penzance Heliport planning application on its agenda.

Those behind the heliport plans had issued a press release last week which claimed the date for the decision had been “confirmed”.

However this morning the council’s website indicated that the meeting had been cancelled.

The heliport team had urged supporters to confirm their support for the project through the council’s website. The original planning application received a higher number of comments in support than any application ever submitted to the council.

Robert Dorrien-Smith from Penzance Heliport said: “We are sorry to announce the Penzance Heliport planning application, scheduled to be heard on the 28th June has been deferred after requests for further information.

"This will assist Cornwall Council’s decision making process and we remain totally committed to the project, which will bring great benefit to West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

Cornwall Council said that the meeting had been cancelled so that technical issues could be resolved by the applicants.

The council also said that committee chairman Rob Nolan has requested that a public meeting be held about the application before it goes to the committee. No dates have yet been set for that public meeting or when the committee will consider the application.

The £2m project by Penzance Heliport Ltd, led by Robert Dorrien-Smith, the owner of Tresco, to restart flights from the town to St Mary’s and Tresco has been mired in controversy, including objections and a legal challenge from the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company (ISSC).

SSC shocked everyone by then launching its own helicopter service from Land’s End Airport to St Mary’s last month. This sparked claims that it was trying to maintain a monopoly on travel to the islands, as it already runs the Scillonian ferry service, a freight ferry and aeroplane flights.

Nevertheless Penzance Heliport Ltd continues to stress the link from Penzance must return. The town had a helicopter link, run by British International Helicopters, until the former heliport was closed in 2012 and the site sold to Sainsbury’s.

It is not the first time this year that the strategic planning committee has been cancelled. So far five meetings of the committee have been cancelled and just two have been held.

At the last meeting of the committee on May 31 there was just one item – the planned new trampoline park in Newquay – an application that officers admitted would normally have gone to the council’s local central sub-area planning committee.

It was said that the reason it went before the strategic planning committe was because of a dearth of suitable planning applications. The strategic planning committee usually deals with large scale applications.

It is believed that there had previously been a large number of applications for large development as developers were attempting to get them in before the local plan was adopted.

The next scheduled meeting of the strategic planning committee is listed for July 26.

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