Letter accuses Scilly Council of heliport 'hypocrisy'
A letter in this week's Cornishman newspaper has accused the Council of the Isles of Scilly of "hypocrisy" in its support of the new heliport in Penzance.
Reader Graham Hewitt said there is a disparity between the aims of the Smart Islands project and the potential impact of a heliport.
He wrote: "The IoS Council recently adopted the so-called 'Smart Islands' project with the following mission statement: 'The Smart Islands programme is intended to sustainably and affordably tackle some of the Isles of Scilly's main infrastructure and utilities issues, whilst providing a model for how other communities can profit from a rapid transition from being carbon intensive to having a low carbon footprint.'
"Excuse my hollow laugh. Low carbon footprint? Helicopters? Most people recognise hypocrisy when they see it."
Cornwall Council's Strategic Planning Committee voted unanimously to grant approval for a new heliport in Penzance at a meeting on August 2nd. Scilly's Council had previously written two letters of support and Cllr Robert Francis attended a public meeting in his capacity as Chairman of the islands' Council to give his backing in person.
Graham Hewitt argued in his Cornishman letter that the helicopter would "destroy the very quality" that originally attracted people to Scilly, saying: "At nearly £500 per return trip, in addition to very wealthy tourists and second home owners this will enable expenses-paid council officials and businessmen to whizz backwards and forwards largely at our expense, and destroy the very quality that attracted people to the islands in the first place... You don't know what you've got till it's gone and all that."
It is unclear where Mr Hewitt came by the figure of £500 as Penzance Heliport Ltd states on its website that a standard adult return fare is expected to cost "around £230".
Cornwall Council has received more supportive comments for the project than any previous application, with over 3,500 logged on its online planning portal.