An update to a planning application that could result in the construction of a new heliport near Penzance has been submitted to Cornwall Council. The plans envisage build a heliport at Jelbert Way near the site of the former heliport on Eastern Green.
Helicopter services to the Isles of Scilly operated from 1964 until 2012, after which the original facility was closed to make way for commercial development. It is expected that the new heliport will enable commercial passenger services linking the islands to the mainland to resume. Supporters suggest that residents, visitors and businesses have been negatively affected by the closure of the previous service. The primary aim of the re-instated helicopter service is to grow overall visitor numbers to the islands by enhancing travel options and resilience. It is believed that it will also extend the tourist season, provide easier access for less able passengers, create around 30 permanent jobs, demonstrate investment confidence in the islands, and provide significant benefits to the local economy.
The authorities granted unanimous planning consent for the new heliport last February, but the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group requested a judicial review of the application. A petition supporting the development received more than 10,000 signatures. The update that has now been submitted to the council includes enhanced environmental and heritage assessments, and also provides further detail on information provided in the original application. The amended plans suggest the project will unlock £31m of investment in the Isles of Scilly, provide a £9m boost to West Cornwall, and increase visitor numbers through additional transport capacity and reliability.
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.”
Cornwall Council will now re-assess the application.