The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group has sent a letter to islanders regarding 'its position on new helicopter services and Penzance Heliport'.
Read the letter below:
We are writing to all residents and customers of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group to explain why the Steamship Company is pursuing the process to make a legal challenge to the planning permission for a new heliport in Penzance.
There has been much comment and criticism of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company over the last week from the promoters of the Penzance heliport scheme who have been advocating its potential benefits. We respect their right to do this. We are disappointed, however, that they feel it necessary to be disingenuous about the Steamship Group, its actions and motives, in order to further their own cause. The Steamship Group’s history shows that its interests and those of the community are interdependent and closely aligned. We believe those who would see the Steamship Company weakened also weaken our Islands and our community. It does them no credit.
It is for this reason that we’ve set out the Steamship Company’s current position in some detail in the attached Question & Answers paper.
In making these statements we are not opposing the reintroduction of helicopter services or competition. The Steamship Company has faced competition for the majority of its almost one hundred year history, and is prepared to do so again now.
However, we believe the presentation of the Penzance heliport plan has been highly selective and simplistic with an all-upside set of benefits. The scheme’s promotors have ignored the effects it is likely to have on the existing wider transport system, jobs and the ability to finance vital upgrades in transport assets in the future, including a Scillonian IV ferry. In this context the actions we are taking are, we believe, in the long-term interests of the whole of the Isles of Scilly, our community, and of Penzance and West Cornwall too.
If helicopter services are to be reinstated then we believe it would be in the best long-term interests of the Islands and the sustainability of its transport system for them to use the existing excellent facilities at Land’s End Airport.
The current position, and thinking, of all of us on the Board of the Steamship Company is set out in the attached document. We hope you will take the time to read it, and, whatever you personally decide in weighing up these important issues for Scilly’s future transport needs, we hope that there can be a more informed and constructive debate over the coming weeks.
Yours sincerely and on behalf of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group Board,
Andrew May (Chairman) and Robert Goldsmith (Chief Executive Officer).
The letter was followed by a Q&A, which can be viewed by clicking here.