Wednesday, 13 September 2017

New Penzance Heliport Planning Application Imminent.

Penzance Heliport Ltd has posted today on its website that an amended planning application for Penzance Heliport is to be submitted to Cornwall Council in the coming weeks.

The post states:  

The re-submission follows continued opposition to the Penzance Heliport proposal by the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group. Planning consent was originally granted in February this year.

Re-submitting a planning application aims to reduce uncertainty to the islands and the expense to Cornish taxpayers of going through the lengthy judicial review process.

Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is behind the proposals to reinstate the Isles of Scilly helicopter service, said: “Islanders, visitors and businesses on Scilly are desperate to know when the new service will be up and running, but a judicial review can take months to even get to court, let alone be resolved.

“To us this uncertainty and cost to the taxpayer is totally unacceptable and therefore the best course of action is to consent to judgment and submit an amended application.

“This will allow us to address any issues the judge indicated could be arguable, save Cornwall rate-payers money and bring about a quicker resolution to this project that the islands are so desperate to see come to fruition.”

Read more here:

Rob Goldsmith, IOSSC CEO, Resigns

Rob Goldsmith’s resignation was announced at the Company's AGM today (13 Sep). Mark Howarth, one of the Non Executive Director and Chairman Andrew May are jointly going to take executive roles for the next six months with Mark Howarth as Managing Director.  

The announcement comes at a fraught time for the IOSSCO.  The Company has been reviled for its pursuit of Judicial Review of the handling of the Penzance Heliport planning application by Cornwall Council.  The legal challenge was interpreted by many as a naked attempt to protect the Company’s  effective monopoly on transport between the mainland and the Isles of Scilly at the expense of Islanders’ interests.   The Company has also struggled with its plan to replace the Gry Maritha freight vessel with the much larger Mali Rose.  The new vessel took longer and cost much more to fit out than originally expected resulting in Gry Maritha having to continue in service beyond its planned date.  The delays have reportedly imperilled the planned sale of the Gry. 

FRIST Comment.

The IOSSG’s ‘no holds barred’ opposition to the proposed new helicopter service has deeply alienated islanders, visitors and many in Penzance.  With a Penzance Heliport and new helicopter service on the cards in the future (irrespective of the outcome of the current Judicial Review case) one had to question the commercial logic of wrecking the Company’s reputation with its customer base just to delay the start of the new service by 12 months.   Many shareholders will have found the Company's very public, beligerant stance against the re-introduction of the helicopter service very difficult to take.  We have to wait and see if the ISSCO now abandons its Judical Review claim.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Sunday Times 20 Aug 17: “Helicopter shuttle service plan has Scilly Isles in a whirl”

The Sunday Times has run a short item on the IOSSG’s efforts to thwart Robert Dorrian-Smith’s plans to reinstate the helicopter service between the Islands and Penzance.  
The article states that the helicopter proposals were “welcomed by islanders who complain about the “second-rate” ferry service that does not operate during the winter and aeroplane flights that are often cancelled because of bad weather, leaving the islands cut off for days."

The article reminds readers that “Helicopter flights operated to the islands for almost 50 years until 2012, when British International Helicopters withdrew its service, blaming uncertainty created by a dispute over the future of its heliport site in Penzance.”

Samantha Mallon, initiator of the petition for reinstatement of the helicopter service is quoted as saying “The steamship company are holding the islands to ransom,” and Lord Berkeley, a regular visitor to the islands, is quoted from his recent Lords debate where he branded the Company a “lazy monopoly provider”.

IOSSG is quoted as saying that there are too few passengers to “sustain two completely separate air operations”. It also is reported as saying that (building a new heliport) “lumbers an already fragile transport system with unnecessary costs and risks”.

Read full article here (you may need to register temporarily for access)

Helicopter petition here  

Comment.  The IOSSG is currently seeking Judicial Review of Cornwall Council's handling of the Penzance Heliport planning application. This action has effectively stalled the project.  The date for the legal hearing is not known.