All three political candidates standing for election in the St Ives constituency – which includes the Isles of Scilly – have voiced their anger at the actions of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group.
Andrew George (Liberal Democrats), Derek Thomas (Conservative) and Christopher Drew (Labour) have all pledged their support for the reinstatement of helicopter services to the Isles of Scilly.
The candidates used words such as “outrageous”, “bullying” and “disappointing” to describe the reaction of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group to the project.
The candidates’ statements are included in full below.
Liberal Democrat Candidate Andrew George said: “Experiencing what Scillonians and visitors to the islands experience all too often. Flight delay and then cancellation.
“A whole day’s visit aborted.
“Scillonians have a right to feel very aggrieved. The latest news that monopoly transport provider, Isles of Scilly Steamship Co, has lodged for a judicial review to stop a competitor helicopter service is all the evidence we need to show how the islands have been held hostage for years.
“Today by a bullying monopoly provider and previously by a bunch of fruit cakes (who threw away the chance of a multi-million £ investment I had secured for the ferry link because they told the Dept of Transport if they couldn’t get their barmy plans through they’d run a ferry from Falmouth!)
“The Isles of Scilly deserves better. I’ll stand up to the monopoly transport provider and seek common cause with calm and rational people who want to see real investment in a better transport plan for the islands.”
Mr George also uploaded a video to his Facebook page, which can be viewed here
Conservative Candidate Derek Thomas said: “As many of you will be aware, Cornwall Council approved the planning application for the development of the Penzance Heliport to facilitate the return of the helicopter service to The Isles of Scilly. This was a popular decision on both the islands and the mainland.
“The news that The Isles of Scilly Steamship Group have decided to take the decision to a judicial review is very disappointing for everyone involved in this project. Furthermore, this action discourages those of us who have been working hard to secure funds to improve Penzance harbour area in order to improve the passenger experience and freight handling operation for the Steamship Company. Many of these people are volunteers who want both the Steamship Company and Heliport operation to thrive and prosper and be a benefit to our area.
“Extending and improving the travel options for residents and visitors to Scilly is in everyone’s interests and this review, which I am convinced will be unsuccessful, will simply delay the provision of this essential addition to the options available.
“I urge the IOS Steamship Group to reconsider this course of action and instead work with the volunteers driving this project to improve customer choice and experience when travelling to the Isles of Scilly to everyone’s benefit.”
Labour Candidate Christopher Drew said: “I am incredibly disappointed in the recent news about the new Scilly Heliport planned for Penzance. The decision to take the plans to judicial review is outrageous.
“I believe Government should review the running of all transport links from the mainland to Scilly to make sure no private companies create a monopoly.
“I will stand up for people on Scilly and for the return of this important transport link.”