ISSG: 'Support for Penzance Heliport has been inflated'
The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group (ISSG) has said that the level of support for the proposed new helicopter link from Penzance has been "inflated".
The ISSG recently stated that its analysis of the petition started by islander Sam Mallon showed that "only 3.2% of the population of Penzance" had backed the scheme.
The company has now gone further, posting on its website today: "A new analysis of Cornwall Council’s planning portal data reveals that the location of nearly three quarters (2,355) of Penzance Heliport supporters registered on the site cannot be determined, raising fresh questions about the levels of local support for the controversial project.
"In recent weeks and in the run-up to a public meeting scheduled for the 23rd July 2018, official spokespeople for the Heliport and third-party advocates have inflated the levels of support for the controversial scheme.
"Pro-Penzance Heliport campaigners have stepped-up their PR efforts as their proposals have come under increased scrutiny from public health experts and environmental campaigners - who have called on Cornwall Council to launch an investigation into the potential noise and other negative impacts on the local community."
However, it added that a "fresh analysis" by the ISSG of official supporter data for Penzance Heliport registered on Cornwall Council’s planning portal (ref: PA16/09346) between October 13th 2016 and June 14th 2018 revealed several points of contention.
1. Despite the planning application first being submitted in October 2016, just 6% (191) of 3,181 registered supporters self-identify themselves as being either a “local resident” or from “Penzance”.
The population of Penzance is 38,133 (ONS Geography, 2015) – meaning that just 5% of the local population have publicly registered their support for the Penzance Heliport. 2. 18% (573) self-identify as living in Cornwall.
3. 9% (286) self-identify as being a resident of the Isles of Scilly.
4. 8% (255) of registered supporters classify themselves as living outside of Cornwall.
5. 74% (2,355) of registered supporters could not be determined.
The ISSG went on to point out that since June 14th 2018, registered local opposition on the planning portal has more than doubled, from 63 to 131.
Meanwhile, a campaign group called Stop The Chop Penzance has been established, consisting of "an alliance of local citizens, health professionals, FOE, the Green Party and Gulval Village Community Association".