Cornwall Council today (Feb 2) voted unanimously to grant planning permission for a heliport that will reinstate the vital air link between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.
Helicopters will operate from Penzance to the islands of St Mary’s and Tresco, complementing existing routes and playing a vital role in growing the islands’ visitor economy. It is hoped flights will commence in spring 2018.
Cornwall Councillors approved the £2 million scheme, which is expected to create around 30 permanent jobs, after officers reported the proposal would bring “significant benefits for local businesses and visitors”.
The site off Jelbert Way is adjacent to the site of the former heliport at Eastern Green, where a helicopter service to the islands operated for 48 years until October 2012.
Robert Dorrien-Smith, who owns the island of Tresco and is one of the main investors in the project, commented: “Naturally, we are delighted. Today’s decision marks the start of the project that we believe will bring about a revival for the islands and dramatic improvements for their residents, businesses and visitors.”
Cornwall Council received over 2,600 messages of support for the project – the most it has ever received for a planning application.
Dorrien-Smith added: “The volume – but also the content – of the public support demonstrates without a doubt the importance of this project to the future of tourism on Scilly, and in Cornwall as a whole. We want to take this opportunity to thank all those who shared often very personal reasons for supporting the reinstatement of this lifeline service.”
West Cornwall MP, Derek Thomas, welcome the news. He said: “I’m pleased the Council has recognised the opportunity the investment of the heliport presents for west Cornwall and Scilly.
“We are now seeing significant investment in and around Penzance and the addition of a new helicopter service is further evidence of the confidence people have in the future prospects of west Cornwall.”
Penzance Town Councillor Dick Cliffe also celebrated the news, commenting: “This is a strategically important development for the Isles of Scilly and it provides important economic benefits for Penzance.
“The approval of Penzance Heliport is a shot in the arm for Penzance, and is potentially transformational for the Isles of Scilly.”
The service is expected to launch in spring 2018, operated by state-of-the-art AW139 helicopters into both St Mary’s and Tresco.