Dorrien-Smith 'offered olive branch to Steamship Group'
Robert Dorrien-Smith has said that he offered the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG) the use of his proposed heliport in Penzance in the event that weather stops Island Helicopters flying from Land's End.
In an interview with the Western Morning News last week, the Penzance Heliport Ltd boss said he made the offer as an "olive branch" but it was rejected.
He said: “I offered them the use of the heliport, and they were abusive. If they can’t fly, their passengers can transfer to Penzance. It is within our flight limits they can operate from Penzance.
"That offer still stands. It’s an olive branch. I’ve offered it before and lost a lot of olives."
However, Island Helicopters dismissed the idea that helicopters would be able to fly from Penzance when they could not from Land's End.
A spokesperson said: "In the two months [including training] we have seen that the advantage of a sea-level heliport compared to Land’s End is absolutely negligible.
"This is all about the availability of divert airports for safety in certain conditions. If diverts are not available a flight cannot take off, regardless of where it originates. There would be no point transferring passengers to Penzance Heliport because no-one would be flying."
Robert also hit back at a claim by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group that "only 3.2% of the population of Penzance has backed plans for a new heliport" after it analysed the petition started by islander Sam Mallon.
He said: "Almost everybody on Scilly has signed it. The economy of the islands relies on tourism and many of those tourists come from far outside Cornwall. Just because somebody who lives in Yorkshire signs it, does not make it any less valid."
The amended planning application for a heliport in Penzance is expected to be heard by Cornwall Council on July 26th, preceded by a public meeting.