Plans for a replacement Penzance Heliport to serve the Isles of Scilly have been recommended for approval by Cornwall Council planning officers.

The Planning Report recommends Councillors grant permission for the heliport, citing the “significant social and economic benefit to the businesses, residents and visitors of the Scillies and wider economic benefits to West Cornwall.” The report will help inform Councillors’ decisions at the Strategic Planning Committee meeting on Thursday 2nd August 2018.

The report refers to Penzance Heliport as “a significant year-round, permanent strategic link” and describes the benefits of an air link to both St Mary’s and Tresco that is likely to offer “significantly greater weather resilience”.

Employment opportunities and “wider economic benefits from increased tourism” are also seen as key benefits to both Penzance and the Isles of Scilly.

A spokesperson for Penzance Heliport said: “We are pleased that Officers have recommended approval for the project. The report carefully considers the potential impact of the project – both positive and negative – and concludes that the benefits outweigh any anticipated adverse impacts.

“We now look forward to the meeting next Thursday and look forward to hopefully getting underway and finally delivering this vital infrastructure project for the Isles of Scilly and West Cornwall.”

The Penzance Heliport project was initially granted planning consent in February 2017 in a unanimous decision by Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee. This decision was later challenged by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company in a Judicial Review. The new planning officers’ report states that the grounds for the legal challenge have now been addressed.

The planning report follows a Public Meeting in Penzance at which the majority of speakers were in favour of the proposal, and an independent survey of permanent residents of the Isles of Scilly which showed 97% support for the project among islanders who voted.

In the 68 page report, Cornwall Council officers highlight:

  • The “very significant social role” of the project for islanders’ access to essential services
  • The benefits of the “significantly greater weather resilience” of Penzance over Land’s End, even without proposed navigation improvements at both locations. The report states the economic benefits of enhanced traveller confidence
  • The “important economic role” of the project, including the creation of 20 Full Time Equivalent jobs on the mainland, additional employment on the islands and support for local businesses in West Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly
  • The “strategic location” of the proposed site, close to Penzance town and with good road and rail access
  • The “significant public support” through more than 3,600 submissions to Cornwall Council’s planning portal (over 94% in support), the 92% support for the project at the initial public consultation event, and an 11,662 signature petition in favour of the development
  • The support of local councillors and the Penzance Regeneration Partnership, which includes the local Cornwall Councillors and representatives from Penzance Town Council, Chamber of Commerce, Business Improvement District, Tourism Association and others.
  • The “complementary” role of a new Penzance-based helicopter service to existing transport links

Responding to claims by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company that their new Land’s End helicopter service makes Penzance Heliport unnecessary, officers concluded: “The Land’s End helicopter service will not result in the same level of social and economic benefit as that associated with the Penzance service and as such, the Penzance service will not duplicate it. If anything, the Land’s End service is more likely to duplicate existing fixed wing services from the same airport.”

Addressing acoustic reports and medical studies submitted by some individuals and groups objecting to the proposal, the report states “no clear conclusions can be drawn from these documents that would justify a refusal of permission.” Officers conclude the reports submitted on behalf of Penzance Heliport remain “robust and comprehensive” and that there is “no justification” for a further noise report.

The report does detail potential adverse impacts of the scheme, but concludes “there are very clear and substantial benefits arising from the scheme that are not outweighed by its adverse impacts.”

To reduce the impact of the development on local residents, the report recommends a number of planning conditions controlling flight paths, operating hours, flight numbers and other elements of the heliport operation. At the request of Penzance Heliport, this also includes the setting up of a Local Stakeholders’ Group.

Cornwall Council’s Strategic Planning Committee will take the report into account when deciding on the application at a planning meeting on Thursday 2nd August. The meeting will be webcast through the Cornwall Council website.

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19 Comments

J aitken · July 26, 2018 at 6:10 pm

As a former mayor of Penzance I welcome the return of the helicopter, I am also a neighbour to the flight path, which I must add as I recommended to captain Nelson. The flight path should fly SSe for 1.5 miles before turning right to its course to scilly to reduce noise from the footprint of the helicopter which is extremely noisy to residents in east ward, as the bay acts as a coliseum.

    Carlton Adams · July 27, 2018 at 7:16 am

    I think there is an element of corruption if the Council pass this.
    I too live on the flight path and life was hell for us when the helicopter flew over us.

    We could not speak to each other for several minutes at a time and the stench of kerosene fuel was awful

    Penzance IS NOT THE PLACE for a heliport

      mark gilmour · July 27, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      Great news for Pz…Carlton Adams…where was you living to be deafened by the noise that you could speak for several minutes? lol

Greg · July 26, 2018 at 6:16 pm

When will the heliport be operation all.

Alison Collins · July 26, 2018 at 6:33 pm

Fantastic news about time

David Chamberlain · July 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Excellent news. But the planning authority need to ready for a cynical appeal by the Steamship Company, designed simply to delay matters for another season.

Derreckhooper@btinternet.com · July 26, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Very pleased best of luck..

Eileen Reid · July 26, 2018 at 7:26 pm

Very pleased that this is progressing. It needs to be reinstated to promote local economy.

Malcolm Woods · July 26, 2018 at 8:33 pm

The only way we’ll return to the Scillies (having been several times in the past by helicopter), is to go again by helicopter from Penzance. Never by the Steamship Company’s boat and certainly not by their cynical and hypocritical Lands End alternative. Let’s hope the Planning Committee make the right decision.

Pam & Dave · July 26, 2018 at 9:52 pm

So pleased to hear the positive news at last, a really significant boost to our favourite holiday destination. ..
Now let all the local authority people Get On With it please.
We visit Scilly every year in March to stay in our Tresco timeshare, because of my husbands mobility issues the holiday had to be cancelled. In 2019, we really need the heliport services back again as
Q uay steps are not an option for him sadly.
Do hope everyone just sorts
out the overriding issues.
Otherwise we will be unable to return. …..PC.

Nick Wilson-Holt · July 26, 2018 at 11:15 pm

Excellent,very welcome, news for everyone on Scilly !

Derick Bromley · July 27, 2018 at 6:26 am

At long last sense seems to be prevailing. I have the officers recommendations are accepted by the Councillors. I relish the opportunity to return to the Islands for a holiday. Hope the application is truly successful this time

Mary Chown · July 27, 2018 at 8:51 am

Great news! Hope that Penzance Heliport can go ahead as soon as possible with no further delaying tactics on the part of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group.

Hev · July 27, 2018 at 8:53 am

This is brilliant news. I hope copter will be accessible for the disabled please.

    Sue Copland -Scott · July 27, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Excellent news ..I just hope the steamship company admit defeat and let the new heliport go ahead without anymore hold ups ..well done all those who attended the meeting at St. John’s hall and those who emailed their support !

Mike Baldrey · July 27, 2018 at 11:56 am

At last, the only sensible move forward! Well Done! Great News

Stan Broomfield · July 27, 2018 at 2:17 pm

Since 1969 we have visited these wonderful Islands, what better way to celebrate 50years.
The welcome return of the helicopter’s providing and complementing facilities for all….

REG GEGG · August 1, 2018 at 8:57 pm

What a wonderful return of those angels in the sky to return to carry much needed passengers to the Islands, with trains mitres away from the New Heliport facilities bringing passengers from far and wide, and a new duel carriageway for motorist to admire the lovely Cornish countryside.

Geoffrey Knight · August 2, 2018 at 10:44 pm

Congratulations to those who approved this application for the return of the successful helicopter service from Penzance to Tresco and St Marys.
I hope this marks a new chapter , not just for Cornwall and the I.O.S .
where individual interests are second to promoting the common good for the whole community ; that includes the residents of the I.O.S., of Penzance and West Cornwall and all the countless holidays makers like us, who want to preserve a unique part of Great Britain , worth promoting .

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