Helicopters will once again connect Penzance and the Isles of Scilly after Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee unanimously backed a new Penzance Heliport.

Penzance Heliport Artists' ImpressionState-of-the-art AW139 helicopters will operate from the new heliport at Penzance to the islands of St Mary’s and Tresco and will help grow the islands’ visitor economy.

Cornwall Council planning officers had recommended Councillors grant planning consent, saying the project will have “significant social and economic benefits” for the Isles of Scilly and West Cornwall.

Robert Dorrien-Smith from Penzance Heliport said: “We hope today’s decision marks the start of a new era for transport to the Isles of Scilly; an era of improved resilience, of increased capacity, of improved accessibility, of genuine competition, and a new era of honest cooperation for the good of the islands.

“We want to thank everyone who has supported us over the past two years. Today’s result is testament to the overwhelming public support for this project, and to the hard work, dedication and perseverance of so many people.

To everybody who has signed the petition, cast their vote in the independent survey, submitted comments to Cornwall Council, or simply told us of their support for this project – thank you.

“We now look forward to moving ahead with this vital project which will make the Isles of Scilly a better place to live, visit and work.”

Unprecedented Support

The project to reinstate a helicopter service between Penzance and the Isles of Scilly has received unprecedented levels of public support.

Cornwall Council has received more supportive comments for the project than for any planning application in history, with over 3,500 messages of support – some 94% of comments. A recent independent survey of islanders showed 97% support for Penzance Heliport among residents.

The project has also received support from Penzance’s Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement District, Tourism Association, and Regeneration Partnership, as well as the Council of the Isles of Scilly, Duchy of Cornwall, Visit Cornwall, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport and the Islands’ Partnership, which represents around 300 businesses on the Isles of Scilly.

A Year Round, Resilient Link

Penzance Heliport will operate up to 17 return flights per day throughout the year. The majority of flights will operate to St Mary’s and the service will also reinstate a direct connection to the island of Tresco.

Flights will operate 7 days per week, but the Penzance Heliport team has offered to reduce its proposed Sunday flying schedule by half, to a maximum of 4 return flights, to minimise the impact on local residents.

The service will operate using the state-of-the-art AW139 helicopter, with seating for 15 passengers and a 20 kg luggage allowance. The flight to the islands will take just 15 minutes.

The helicopter service will be operated by Sloane Helicopters – one of the most accomplished helicopter operators in Europe, with nearly 50 years’ experience. Sloane is trusted by a number of high profile clients including air ambulance charities and the Ministry of Defence.

The heliport site in Penzance, off Jelbert Way close to the former heliport site, will provide significant benefits for passengers, located adjacent to the A30 and just one mile from Penzance railway station, providing excellent onward connectivity to the rest of the country.

The site’s location near sea level in Penzance will help improve the weather resilience of air links to the Isles of Scilly. A recent independent study showed that over 10 months, Penzance would have been flyable 94% of the time, compared to 74% of the time for Land’s End.

Unlocking Growth

It is estimated the project will unlock £31 million of private investment in the Isles of Scilly, stimulate £10 million of economic activity in West Cornwall and provide around 30 permanent jobs.

Some local residents have raised concerns over the impact of the heliport on health and wellbeing. Cornwall Council’s Public Health Team informed Councillors they “do not consider the development to pose a risk to the health and wellbeing of residents located near the proposed site.”

Penzance Heliport Ltd has asked Cornwall Council to include the setting up of a Local Stakeholders Group as part of the planning consent, to ensure ongoing consultation with local people.

Robert Dorrien-Smith added: “We do not see this as the end of our obligation to consult with local people; this is the beginning of our relationship with them and we will do all we can to be good neighbours.”

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68 Comments

Mike Mitchell · August 2, 2018 at 11:46 am

What great news for all concerned I will definitely book a flight
Ps if you need a construction man let me know

Alison Gardner · August 2, 2018 at 11:48 am

Good luck with your enterprise. I you suffer no further delays and get off to a flying start ASAP.

Derek Prynn · August 2, 2018 at 12:07 pm

That’s great news worth waiting for

B catchpole · August 2, 2018 at 12:10 pm

Fantastically good justified result! Hooray!
All best wishes for future success.

Judy Ball · August 2, 2018 at 12:11 pm

So relieved! What a struggle it has been. Delighted with the result.

Peter Gildener · August 2, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Absolutely delighted that approval has been given. Congratulations to RDS and his team for all the immense work they have undertaken and the enormous ( and unnecessarily additional ) stress to which they have been subjected. Now is the time to forge ahead and for the IOSSG to shut up and concentrate on putting their own leaking and collapsing houses in order. Go Heliport Penzance!!

    audrey Davis · August 2, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Whole heartedly agree with your comments!!!

RON · August 2, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Persuade the IOS Steamship Co to get a decent boat, something like a Hydrofoil eh?

frank aldous · August 2, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Great news. Especially good since today 02/08/2018. Landsend IOS services were fogbound and Penzance was clear

Anne-Marie Culliney · August 2, 2018 at 12:22 pm

Wonderful news – I can look forward to next year ( ? ) by helicopter again !

Alan Haworth · August 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Congratulations on gaining planning permission for the new Heliport at Penzance.
Hopefully before too long I can once again go to Tresco on a direct flight.
Good luck for the future.

Karen Grigg · August 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm

Hooray! Congratulations to all involved and we look forward to using the new service.

Kind regards,

Karen Grigg

Antony Edwards · August 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Brilliant News.
Congratulations to all involved.
Onwards & Upwards !!

Colin Curnow · August 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm

I listened to the podcast of the debate and one point interested me in particular. As the last Fire Officer of the heliport i was interested in the debate about fire training. Why can’t the training be done at the Heliport. When I was the Fire Officer I had a replica cabin made locally and fed by gas at the far end of the airfield. No smoke or nasty stuff burning of just gas. It was serviced every year by a gorgi registered engineer and certificated.

Richard Nellyer · August 2, 2018 at 12:38 pm

Fantastic news!!

Richard · August 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm

At last or indeed for the second time common sense has prevailed. For business suppliers to the Islands including Tresco and Bryher it so important to get back the direct link saving valuable time in transit which can be better used with our clients.

marlene salt · August 2, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Brilliant news. Thank you.

M J Beswick · August 2, 2018 at 12:50 pm

What a relief, we look forward to visiting Tresco again in September/October this year and have already booked 2 holidays in 2019 we look forward to flying in the helicopters again!

Well done everyone for a wonderful effort.

Joan Beswick

pete turner · August 2, 2018 at 1:06 pm

we are over joyed with the decision, common sense as prevailed at last, best of luck to the isles of scilly team.

Mrs Lorraine Morris · August 2, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Hurrah, this is we wonderful news! Well done everyone who have persevered and fought so hard,” I admit you all. Bravo!!!

    Mollie Iles · August 2, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    Great result. Thankyou for your perseverance. & hard work.

John Bampfield · August 2, 2018 at 1:29 pm

Brilliant News!

Stuart Dobbie · August 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Great News for all concerned. Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard for this result. Now the work begins.

Jan Palfreman · August 2, 2018 at 1:36 pm

Congratulations, well done! So sorry Dorrien Smith was given so much unnecessary stress from the IOSSG in getting this project off the ground. The helicopters could have been flying a year ago. I wish Penzance Heliport all the best for the future and look forward to flying with you next year. Fantastic news!

M D West · August 2, 2018 at 1:40 pm

Is this going to be a private heliport or a public aerodrome? ….so will the IoS company be able to operate their helicopter from it?….if it is privately owned land what is to stop the owner selling the land to another developer when it suits them as happened with the old heliport or is the land publicly owned and dedicated to transport?

    Tom Gordon · August 4, 2018 at 9:06 am

    Most people have been totally appalled at the IOSSC’s shameful response to this heliport.
    The St Just helicopters are doomed now and the customers wouldnt fly with them even if they were allowed to fly from Penzance.

June Macpherson · August 2, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Onwards and Upwards!

Your determination and indomitable spirit has finally won.
So many smiles on so many faces.

    Andrea Gabriel · August 2, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    I am so pleased that once again a Rotary Wing service shall provide a resilient alternative air link to Scilly. The Helicopter service shall complement the existing Fixed Wing operation and of coursd the Scillonian service. Well done all!

    David Beynon · August 3, 2018 at 10:29 am

    Great news for the local community and holidaymakers – I and my family are just about to set off on our 40th annual visit to Tresco ! Thanks to all concerned.

David Head · August 2, 2018 at 2:30 pm

At last ! Thank goodness for common sense – now let’s have an end to the petty excuses from the ISSG and let them concentrate on getting a new boat. I and all my family look forward to the return of the helicopters from a sensible heliport at sea level.I am very impressed with the overwhelming support form visitors and residents alike.

Natalie Harris · August 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Fantastic news ! Well done to all concerned! Onwards and ( literally) upwards !

DVJones · August 2, 2018 at 2:48 pm

Congratulations. I’m very pleased and look forward to using the service.

valerie balkwill · August 2, 2018 at 2:57 pm

you have made my day i thought i would never get a way again not left st.marys since helicopter finished looking forward to first trip whoopee

steve sims · August 2, 2018 at 3:01 pm

Congratulations!!! Though the silly thing is it was an absolute no brainer. Well done.

John Kerswell · August 2, 2018 at 3:09 pm

Congratulations on winning a hard fought battle. We shall be looking forward to being on Tresco again, soon

Mike Baldrey · August 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Congratulations, well done to all those who’s hard work has made this possible! My wife Audrey & I are delighted!

Anne Fairey · August 2, 2018 at 3:34 pm

How wonderful! Can’t wait. Hurry up and get it done for next Easter!

Karen Jones · August 2, 2018 at 3:45 pm

Fantastic news. Great to have a choice again! Well done everybody in your perseverance. We will definitely be customers.

Peter Evans · August 2, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Brilliant!! Full marks for your perseverance and honourable approach to this marathon. Well done!

Mary Wilson-Holt · August 2, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Thank Heavens that common sense prevailed and that the heliport team prevailed. Very much look forward to flying on the new chopper!!

Bob · August 2, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Very sad that those in the most senior executive positions in the Steamship Co chose to go to such great lengths to thwart a much needed and widely welcomed competitor in the provision of transport services to the Isles of Scilly. This result was absolutely necessary and democratically just.
The sooner Penzance Heliport is up and running, the better. Congrats to Robert D-S and all others who have shown the necessary resilience and had the conviction to see common sense prevail in the end.
The stakeholders of the Steamship Co should be holding the most senior executives to account for their completely misguided and inappropriate interventions in defending the indefensible, i.e. seeking to retain monopolistic control over all transport links to the IOS.. and seemingly doing so no matter what the financial cost and distraction, let alone the shockingly negative PR for the business. How many CEO’s careers would it have been worth sacrificing in the endless pursuit of this fantasy?

Russell Jackson · August 2, 2018 at 5:06 pm

Well done. A good result to reinstate the proven 48 year Helicopter link with Scilly, despite the underhand delaying actions of the Steamship Company.

Jan Cardew · August 2, 2018 at 5:28 pm

Wonderful news. Looking forward to comfortable travel, again.

Liz Humphrys · August 2, 2018 at 5:34 pm

Many congratulations – we’re so pleased. When can we book our flights for next year?
Really looking forward to returning to Tresco and Bryher after five years.

Andrea Gabriel · August 2, 2018 at 6:01 pm

I am so thrilled that the Rotary Wing service to Scilly shall finally return after such a long period without a second option to the Fixed Wing operations at St Just. Now hopefully once again the two airborne modes of transport, plus of course the Scillonian can serve the Islands for the benefit of all.

Pat and John Faunt · August 2, 2018 at 6:02 pm

We are absolutely delighted with the news and hope to fly with you next year. Back to Normal.Hurray!!!

Sue Copland-Scott · August 2, 2018 at 6:04 pm

Great news ..now onward and upward !

John Wooddissee · August 2, 2018 at 6:29 pm

Absolutely brilliant result!!!! Well done to everyone concerned!!!!!!

Jill Kuhr · August 2, 2018 at 6:39 pm

Wonderful news! Thanks to everyone for working hard to achieve this excellent result. Good to see a better luggage allowance too. My husband is delighted not to have to suffer upset tum ever again on the boat!!

Hester Morris · August 2, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Many congratulations to RDS and his team for his, and their collective, perseverance and dedication to this project, despite many churlish objections from the IOSSC, who were hell bent on scuppering this application and seemed to forget that the helicopter service was in operation many, many years before they introduced their fixed wing service! Thank goodness common sense has now prevailed, and, at long last, an independent helicopter service is going to be reinstated. I can’t wait, and now look forward to returning to the islands again after having abandoned them due to so many travel insurance claims having to be submitted, courtesy of IOSSC’s flimsy air service. An excellent decision – I am absolutely delighted! Well done to all, including the Council Members who voted for approval. I can’t wait to use the new service!

David Morton · August 2, 2018 at 7:04 pm

That’s great news. We used to visit the Scillies a lot, but stopped going soon after the helicopter service was withdrawn.

We plan to resume our visits using the Penzance service.

Wish you every success.

Rob · August 2, 2018 at 7:20 pm

At last i shall look to returning to my annual family trips to Tresco Island. For 25 years we went – and then could not bear the break/transfer – so didnt go – except on a day trip from St Marys

Hooray !

Mike Knight · August 2, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Well done. Have supported you from day one.
Your Determination and resolute spirit have won through in the end.
Next year is a big anniversary us and we will do our best to visit the Scilly Isles.
I look forward to flying with you very soon.
All the best for the future.

Ian & Val Barker · August 2, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Superb. Next year ideal again for our 40th plus visits since 1981. Most by helicopter.

Chrissie Jager-York · August 2, 2018 at 8:39 pm

Wonderful news at long last, thanks to your perseverance plus local support. I shall look forward to using the new helicopter service as I used to, for my annual visits to Snipe Cottage on Tresco.

Jo and Robin Colby · August 2, 2018 at 10:02 pm

Our very sincere thanks to the principal architects behind this magnificent result, and we greatly look forward to using the new helicopter service, we trust in 2019.

Jane & Trevor Eastman · August 2, 2018 at 10:36 pm

Fantastic news – it’s been a struggle to get to Bryher the past few years (keep getting transferred to the Scillionian, which makes us sick) – can’t wait for the new Helicopter from Penzance! Well done.

David Beynon · August 3, 2018 at 12:19 am

This is great news for the local community and holidaymakers, including my family – we are just about to set out for Tresco for our 40th annual visit . Thank you, all concerned.

Roger D Sidaway · August 3, 2018 at 8:19 am

Congratulations, at last, to RDS and team [ from another focussed RDS ] for your determination and perseverence in the face of stiff opposition from the vested interests of the IoSS co. and their pathetic attempts to thwart the needs and will of the Scilly and Penzance populance. Common sense has finally prevailed. I look forward, once again, to my next ‘chopper’ holiday on St.Marys when service up and running.

Terry Babbage · August 3, 2018 at 8:28 am

Delighted to get email with super news I missed my helicopter flights to the islands and look forward to the new flights well done everyone

Raymond Hammond · August 3, 2018 at 9:04 am

A very successful and welcome result thanks to you hard working team

Malcolm Woods · August 3, 2018 at 9:50 am

At last…

Get ready Scillies. We’re all coming back..!

Mike Cox · August 3, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Great news – common sense prevails occasionally. Thank you for persevering, we look forward to the flights commencing.

Roger Barnard · August 4, 2018 at 9:40 am

Congratulations and thank you to Robert Dorian-Smith and his team for all their hard work and determination to see this vital project through to this stage. Great news!

Pete Malcolm · August 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm

Hurrah! So pleased to see this go through. I for one will never use the Steamship Company again if I can possibly help it. Well done for persevering Robert, you have the respect of thousands!

Sue · August 5, 2018 at 9:13 am

Fabulous news! Congratulations to all concerned from the Isles of Scilly and Penzance, we will once again be able to fly direct to Tresco, taking elderly parents and pop over for the day, whilst staying in Cornwall for other family holidays… hurrah!

Zoe Monk · August 6, 2018 at 8:21 am

Absolutely thrilled with the news, the best birthday present ever! Well done team RDS and supporters x

Rosemary Bowyer · August 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm

Great news! When will flights start? Can we book for next year?

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