ISSG 'disappointed' by TravelWatch criticism
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company has hit back at TravelWatch SouthWest after the watchdog accused it of being a 'self-interested monopoly' which may be 'abusing its market power'.
The travel watchdog published a letter in support of the planned new heliport in Penzance and condemning the ISSG for pursuing a judicial review, the BBC reports.
The ISSG responded in a statement: "It is deeply disappointing that TravelWatch SouthWest made no attempt whatsoever to discuss any of their concerns with us before publishing their letter.
"It shows a very poor and simplistic understanding of the Penzance heliport proposal and the travel market to Scilly, and is a one-sided view of a complex situation.
"We do not oppose a competing helicopter operation but seriously question its impact on the transport network if operated from Penzance.
"There is no monopoly, and we reject accusations of self-interest. We will be contacting TravelWatch to try and give them a better understanding of this complex issue."
The ISSG was also criticised on social media earlier this week after objecting to an application for retrospective planning permission on the part of Westwinds Car Park near Land's End Airport.
The car park's owner Nick Christopher Smith said that he was "devastated" by the ISSG's actions, writing on Facebook on Wednesday: "I offer 12 spaces all year round to visitors to the islands at a affordable rate. £4 a day and have been doing so for several years. Currently I am going through planning permission to continue to use the car park in this way and ISSG where asked to comment, THEY OBJECTED with what I can only describe a dossier. I am amazed and devastated at this."
In their Officer's Report, Cornwall Council refer to some of the objections made in a 31-page letter from the ISSG as "slightly contradictory", "somewhat tenuous" and giving "the impression that the competition element may be the overarching objection to the proposal".
Westwinds was subsequently granted conditional planning permission for the car park.