ISSG HELIPORT OBJECTION 'TO PROTECT MONOPOLY'
Robert Dorrien-Smith has responded to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Group's objection to his plans for a new heliport in Penzance, accusing the company of wanting to protect its monopoly.
He also dismissed the claim that no attempt had been made to consult ISSG on the use of Land’s End as a possible site for the helicopter.
He told This is Scilly: “Whilst I appreciate that Mr Goldsmith (Chief executive of ISSG) has tried to dress up his objection, in wider terms the whole of his lengthy and verbose submission is driven by the desire to protect the ISSG monopoly.
“The possible use of Land's End has been thoroughly examined since 'old BIH' suggested moving there in 2011. I have attended meetings over the last five years with four separate helicopter operators in order to assess the suitability of the site - none of them wished to proceed."
He claimed that regardless of advances in technology, Land's End suffers from disadvantages such as weather, access, location and elevation, being some 401 feet above sea level.
"These factors have all played a part in the failure of the air transport system to the islands. Penzance does not have these disadvantages and has been proven over many years to be the best location for a helicopter service."
Robert added: “I am unable to accept that we cannot grow the air market by working together with the three modes of transport that served the islands so well for so long.
"I would not be considering investing so much money if I thought there was an easy solution."
He reiterated his main objectives in bringing back the helicopter service, including growing the market which has fallen "so dramatically". Other aims are to "reinstate reliability" in the island's transport system, recover the reputation of the islands "which has been so badly damaged by the perception of poor accessibility" and try to rebuild confidence in the islands as a good place to live, work and visit.
Robert said: “The many of thousands of people who have supported the heliport application cannot all be wrong. I would suggest Mr Goldsmith takes time to read those letters."
He also insisted that he is still open to working with ISSG, saying: "There is a huge dissatisfaction with the current system for many reasons and he may rest assured that if I obtain planning permission I will work closely with his company to deliver all the benefits that I have described.
“We must all work together to achieve these aims and keep our eyes on the prize."