Further information to support the Penzance Heliport planning application has been submitted to Cornwall Council today [12th January 2018].

The amended application shows the project will unlock £31m of investment in the islands, provide a £9m boost to West Cornwall, and increase visitor numbers through additional transport capacity and reliability. Enhanced environmental and heritage assessments also provide further detail on information provided in the original application.

Cornwall Council will now re-assess the planning application following legal attacks on the original planning consent by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group.

Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is leading the project, said: “The legal challenge to the original planning consent, whilst frustrating, has actually allowed us to strengthen our case with new evidence on the importance of this project for West Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

“The additional information we are providing today proves the importance of this project to the future growth of the islands, and shows beyond doubt that Penzance is the optimum base for the service.”


Unlocking Investment

New evidence from some of Scilly’s biggest businesses has identified £31m of investment in the islands that is currently on hold, pending improvements to the transport infrastructure. The investments would encourage more visitors and provide more than 70 full time equivalent jobs.

Island business owner Clifford Freeman said: “The reintroduction of a helicopter service will help grow the visitor market and encourage further investment in the islands. I recently found myself reluctantly holding back investment plans pending a better transport system.”


Growing Visitor Numbers

The islands’ tourism agency has set an ambitious growth target of an additional 20,000 visitors per year by 2019. Analysis shows this target can only be met through significant increases in transport capacity and weather resilience that a helicopter service from Penzance can deliver.

Information from aviation experts shows the proposed site, at Jelbert Way in Penzance, will enable helicopters to fly in at least 40% lower cloud than from Land’s End Airport, helping improve the reliability of the islands’ transport network.


A Better Transport System

Robert Dorrien-Smith commented: “Whilst the rest of Cornwall’s tourism economy is seeing significant growth, the islands are seeing virtual stagnation; in fact last year, air passenger numbers fell by over 6,000 people, taking us back to the level we were at in 2014. In other words, we are going backwards.

“People simply will not risk the travel disruption we experience, year after year. On a yearly basis, flying from Land’s End Airport is disrupted on 1 day in every 4, and in the winter, that airport is our chief link with the mainland. With no ferry backup, it’s a pretty dire situation; the results were seen again this Christmas, when a Dunkirk spirit and Scilly’s own fleet of little boats was the only way on or off the islands.

“We need a transport system that has the capacity and resilience to serve the needs of these islands throughout the year, and that is why we are totally committed to this project and to Penzance.

“We hope we are now able to move on and work alongside the Steamship Group and others to provide a better, stronger and more resilient transport service for Scilly.”


The Project

The reinstated helicopter service will connect Penzance with St Mary’s and Tresco, providing an additional, year-round travel option for islanders and visitors.

Cornwall Council granted unanimous planning consent for the project in February after the planning application gained the greatest volume of support the council has ever received. The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group, which currently operates all passenger and freight transport to the islands, launched a series of legal attacks on the project, including a judicial review. A petition against the actions of the Group has received over 10,000 signatures.


How You Can Help

The best way for our supporters to help make the project a reality is by commenting on the planning application.

You can submit your comments in one of three ways:

There’s plenty more information on our dedicated page.


Categories: Latest News


Michael Pearson · January 12, 2018 at 3:50 pm

Excellent news only sorry not to be up and flying in 2018

Mike Baldrey · January 12, 2018 at 3:54 pm

Looking good, well done, keep it up. You have our full support!

Richard Ash · January 12, 2018 at 4:08 pm

Looking good hope to fly out when you are up and running

C Barker · January 12, 2018 at 4:10 pm

Such good news, keep going. Planning a trip once up and flying. 🚁

paul rowling · January 12, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Looking forward to flying to scilly by helicopter once more..should be a much more resilient service with far fewer cancellations due to weather..
Good luck

June Macpherson · January 12, 2018 at 4:35 pm

I hope you can hear all the vast number of supporters cheering you on?

Common sense and all your hard work must surely bring the result we are all waiting for.

Gloria Vince · January 12, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Very pleased with the new application will definitely fly again once it is up and running.

Paul Whitehead · January 12, 2018 at 4:45 pm

Brilliant news, this looks to be a very strong case complete with a great deal of factual evidence.

Paul Whitehead · January 12, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Great news, we are looking forward to flying again.

Fi B · January 12, 2018 at 4:58 pm

Great news! The bitter and twisted steamship company cannot hold back progress any further. The public wants a helicopter service from Penzance. Monopolies only look to themselves, not the wider economy.

Derek Nixon · January 12, 2018 at 5:04 pm

Brilliant news.
Having witnessed the ‘small boat flotilla’ at Christmas, it is essential that the islands get a more reliable transport system than that offered by the current sole operator, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company.

Bob Finch · January 12, 2018 at 5:46 pm

My family and I are really pleased at this strengthened application. This year all 13 of us have decided to take the Scillonian for our annual holiday at the end of May. This is because for the last three years at least one of the families has had major disruption to flights, sometimes having to spend a night in Cornwall – ending up with using the fast boat method of getting to the Islands. This is not funny when the three children are all under 7.

A.C.Miller · January 12, 2018 at 5:54 pm

Very good news. Buy airbus, bad weather, and go by Scillonian, with no compensation for the difference in tariff. That’s how it has been. Those days must go for ever with competition from a new, efficient, helicopter service.

John Thornhill · January 12, 2018 at 6:48 pm

Keep up the good work, the Islanders deserve another option and not to be controlled by one operator. Shame on you Steamship Company for delaying this vital link for all. The original helicopter operation was run with complete professionalism and I have full faith in the new operation and hope it gets airborne asap.

Derek Prynn · January 12, 2018 at 7:13 pm

Excellent news let’s hope it happens soon I’m looking forward to take my children and grandchildren over to tresco when it’s up and running , I use to live on tresco when I was a child , my father worked at tresco abbey

Derek Prynn · January 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Can’t wait to seeing the day when it’s up and running

The Cusworth family · January 12, 2018 at 7:46 pm

Great news – thank you for persevering. Good luck.

Greg Caygill · January 12, 2018 at 7:56 pm

This is a long delayed project for the good of the people, giving great choice. A great location, Penzance ideal for the train and avoiding the small roads near Lands End.

Better weather, everything!
Well done to all who helped make it this far!

Geoffrey Earl · January 12, 2018 at 8:16 pm

Thanks for email updates . also waiting for amended application results . keep up the good work..

Arthur · January 12, 2018 at 8:27 pm

The sooner the better

Graham Tippen · January 13, 2018 at 10:17 am

Fantastic News! The reinstatement of the helicopter service is vital for both the islands and wset Cornwall. What more can we do to help? Do we need to resubmit our support for the application to Cornwall C.C.?

Tom · January 13, 2018 at 11:57 am

The statistic that flying from Land’s End Airport is disrupted on average 1 day in every 4 is incredible – how can anyone other than the Steamship Group think that is possibly acceptable? The helicopter from Penzance is by the far the best way to provide reliable transport to the islands throughout the year. All the very best of luck with this application. Whilst we love the islands and been almost every year of my life (now middle aged) not going this year because post-BIH helicopter the transport is so poor and also don’t want to give another penny to the Steamship Group. Look forwarding to returning, flying from Penzance Heliport, hopefully in 2019.

Peter Gildener · January 13, 2018 at 1:32 pm

I am delighted that the proposal has such support as it is a vital lifeline for the Islanders not only for their livelihood but also as the only reliable ( no cancellations or seasickness because of bad weather) travel link between Islands and mainland . My admiration for RDS’s persistence and dedication increases.

Jane and Keith Lovell · January 14, 2018 at 1:52 pm

This is wonderful news ..particularly in these grey January days here on the mainland.

Congratulations to all who have contributed and worked so hard to present this new application. ensuring the future and survival of Scilly for residents, and as a wonderful destination for visitors.

J Sims · January 15, 2018 at 6:56 am

My family have been visiting the islands since the 60s and always used the helicopter service until 2012. We were then forced to use Skybus which was very unreliable due to the weather it could not fly in. This was something we only encountered one with the helicopter, but Skybus multiple times over 5 years.
Good luck and I hope to travel on one of the first flights!

Brian Hall · January 15, 2018 at 10:30 am

Let us all hope sense prevails and 2019 brings a reliable helicopter service. Having been badly affected by cancelled aircraft flights in each of the last 3 years I am so looking forward to increased reliability. Best wishes to the fight!

Jeremy and Mary-Vere Parr · January 16, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Congratulations on reaching this major milestone. This is so obviously the right thing for Scilly locals and for tourism and visitors. Thank you for your determination and perseverance against the forces of evil. We’re looking forward to using the fabulous helicopters you propose and feel totally confident you are now going to succeed.

Andrew · January 20, 2018 at 4:45 pm

What happens if this project fails? Does Penzance get another supermarket and the directors sell the land off to the highest bidder.

Lets have clause on planning that says the land can only ever be used for the purpose of a heliport.

Maureen England · January 20, 2018 at 10:14 pm

Hope you succeed, flew by helicopter nearly 50 years ago and enjoyed the flight, hope to do the same again soon. Good luck

Roger Fentem · February 15, 2018 at 5:48 pm

Delighted to read that you are continuing to return a reluable helicopter service for the wonderful isles despite the jaw-dropping cinicism of the the stesmship company, now we know the real resdon for their objections.

Roger Fentem · February 15, 2018 at 5:50 pm

Apologies for the typing errors!

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