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Replacement Site Sought For Isles of Scilly Link
3:21pm 14th November 2011
(Updated 3:21pm 14th November 2011)
The search is on to find a new home for the Isles of Scilly helicopter link.
It is after British International pulled controversial plans for St Erth on Friday.
They want to move from Penzance to a new site in west Cornwall.
Newquay airport could act as a temporary base.
Managing Director Al Titterington says it is vital to protect the route, "The decision for British International to relocate away from Penzance was obviously a difficult one. What's very important is the helicopter service to the Isles of Scilly is maintained and Newquay continues to play the role of supporting support air services, both to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."
"Having connectivity for the islanders, both on a commercial basis but also from a tourism market, it has to be maintained. Whether that's through Newquay or other airfields in the south west, I think it's vital to both the economies of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly."
Officials on the Isles of Scilly say they want a new home found as quickly as possible:
Council representative Julian Pearce says the route brings in up to 50,000 visitors a year:
“The islands are dependent largely on tourism. It really is our principle economy we can’t survive without it in our current state so they’re absolutely crucial to our community. But it’s also the supports, for us, the islands, for people going off on health visits”
“It’s been going on for a couple of years, the uncertainty about BIH. I’m sure that hasn’t helped them from an economic case either. So, I think for all parties involved clearing up the uncertainty is absolutely crucial and the sooner and the clearer that becomes, the better”
St Ives and Isles of Scilly MP Andrew George wants a rethink of the policy approach to air links to the Isles of Scilly.
He is unhappy that the decision to give Sainsbury's permission to build on the current Eastern Green heliport was made before an alternative home was secured:
"The helicopter service is essential to the islands. The handling of recent decisions has put this in jeopardy.
"If the object was to secure the future of the helicopter service then making BIH homeless before finding them a new home is a strange way of going about it.
"Penzance has been left with the worst of both worlds. The effective ending of the helicopter service and the building of yet another out of town supermarket; the combined influence of both will be devastating to the town. The helicopter service brings millions of pounds in to the town. Another supermarket will suck the life blood out of it."
3:21pm 14th November 2011
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