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Helicopter Legal Challenge Dropped

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6:22pm 21st August 2012
(Updated 6:22pm 21st August 2012)

Pirate FM has learnt that a legal challenge that could see helicopter flights to the Isles of Scilly scrapped has been dropped.

The Judicial Review was launched by Tesco over the way Sainsbury's got planning permission to build on Penzance Heliport.

British International says it needs to sell the site in order to continue to afford to run the service.

Tesco says it has stopped the process after assurance from BIH bosses that they will continue to fly if all legal challenges are dropped.

Another individual challenge is still on-going.

The supermarket's commercial director, Michael Kissman, said: "This commitment from BIH means we can withdraw our Judicial Review immediately.

"Our aim was simply to ensure that planning law was applied properly and there was a commitment that BIH would continue the helicopter service. We now have that commitment.

"We know how important this service is to our staff, customers and local people. I hope circumstances allow BIH to deliver on their promises to keep their helicopters flying."

Chris Promfret from the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership has welcomed the news: "The importance of good transport links between the Islands and the mainland was identified as a key factor in the growth of their economy in the LEP strategy. I wrote to the Chief Executive of Tesco asking him to think about the impact of their action on the local residents and welcome this decision.

"However I am aware that there is still one application for a Judicial Review in place which has been submitted by an individual. Following Tesco's decision this is now the only thing that stands in the way of resolving this matter."

In a statement, British International, said: "A letter to Tesco dated 17 August BIH chairman Peter Shawyer stated that on 14 August the Board confirmed that subject to the withdrawal of all legal challenges, BIH is happy to confirm that the helicopter service between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will continue from November 2012 from an alternative site in Cornwall.

"Between the 14 August and the 17 August, however, it became clear that the remaining legal challenge would not be removed within a suitably short timeframe despite great efforts by a number of people. Consequently in the same letter to Tesco the chairman stated; regrettably, not all legal challenges have been removed BIH therefore have no alternative but to pursue another course of action.

"This course is to cease the passenger service from 1 November 2012. BIH has spent considerable time and money in connection with seeking to continue to maintain the route and now has to focus on the future of the company without the route to the Isles of Scilly. BIH will continue to talk to other potential operators for the route."

6:22pm 21st August 2012

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