Islander launches petition to support Penzance heliport
A petition calling for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group to 'cease their attempts to prevent a new helicopter service from Penzance' has reached more than 770 signatures.
Islander Sam Mallon started the petition following news that the ISSG has begun proceedings for a judicial review of the planning permission for the project.
Construction of the replacement heliport has now been paused while a judge examines the lawfulness of Cornwall Council's decision.
Robert Dorrien-Smith yesterday accused the Steamship Group of “an abuse of power on a very serious scale" in launching the action.
The petition reads: "We, the residents, visitors and friends of the Isles of Scilly, object to the actions of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group in seeking to deny us a helicopter service from Penzance.
"Penzance is the only logical site as it suffers less from low cloud and fog than Land's End, is close to transport links and has existing tourist facilities.
"We demand that the Directors of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group put islanders first and cease their attempts to prevent a new helicopter service from Penzance."
Some islanders have also changed their Facebook profile pictures to a photo of a helicopter to show their support.
Robert Dorrien-Smith yesterday thanked well-wishers following news of the judicial review, writing: "Whether on social media, phone, email or in the street, your support today has been overwhelming, heartwarming and hugely appreciated. We have had hundreds of offers of help and support; please keep an eye out for updates in the coming days.
"Today, we reaffirmed our commitment to this project and to the islands. Your reaction has proved beyond doubt that this is the right thing for Scilly, for those who live here and for those who love these islands. Thank you."
Cornwall Council has also issued a statement, saying it "notes the decision of the Isles of Scilly of Steamship Company to seek a judicial review and will robustly defend the decision taken by the Strategic Planning Committee to grant planning permission for a new heliport at Penzance".
The Steamship Group yesterday released its own response to Penzance Heliport's statement. Chairman Andrew May said: “We have mounted this legal challenge because we consider that Cornwall Council’s decision was flawed in its assessment of Penzance heliport in a number of important areas.
"Our primary concern relates to the serious socio-economic consequences of creating a new heliport and the effect the proposal will have on the longterm sustainability of the wider transport network and future investment in it, including a replacement for the Scillonian III ferry."