Dorrien-Smith: 'Community support astounding'
Robert Dorrien-Smith has thanked supporters after a petition calling for the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group to 'cease their attempts to prevent a new helicopter service from Penzance' reached more than 5,000 signatures in two days.
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.
The petition states: '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.'
Many islanders and visitors have also been expressing their outrage on social media, with some changing their Facebook profile pictures to show support.
Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is behind the proposals to bring back the helicopter service, said: “The community reaction has been astounding. I have always been resolute that this is the right thing for the islands, and that the Steamship Company’s actions are nothing but an anti-competitive attempt to cling onto their monopoly.
“The reaction of the public - islanders, locals of Penzance and visitors and lovers of Scilly - has demonstrated that the whole community feels the same way.
“I would also like to thank Sam Mallon for launching this petition and leading the community action. The fact that this is a grassroots, local reaction to the behaviour of a monopoly seeking to control an entire community should speak volumes.”
He continued: “I would like to sincerely thank all those who have expressed their support, whether on social media, by telephone, email or in the street.
“The public reaction to this has demonstrated that the people of Scilly, and those who love these islands, will not be bullied and will stand up for what is right for this community.”those who live here and for those who love these islands. Thank you."
Steamship Group Chairman Andrew May today wrote an open letter to islanders explaining the company's reasons for the legal action.