Work has officially begun on the new Penzance Heliport that will become the helicopter gateway to the Isles of Scilly.
The first turf was cut on the site at Jelbert Way in a ceremony this week (Monday 18th March 2019). The new heliport is adjacent to the previous heliport site and will reinstate direct helicopter flights between Penzance and the islands of Tresco and St Mary’s.
The turf was cut using Cornish shovels by Mayor of Penzance Cllr Dick Cliffe, Cornwall Councillor for Ludgvan Simon Elliott, Chair of Ludgvan Parish Council Cllr Roy Mann and Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is leading the project.
During the event, West Cornwall-based Symons Construction was named as the main contractor responsible for building the £4.3 million heliport. The company will now begin mobilisation work.
Helicopters will fly between Penzance, Tresco and St Mary’s year round from spring 2020, operated by Sloane Helicopters. Tickets go on sale this summer.
Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is behind the project, said: “Today is a momentous occasion not just for the islands, but for West Cornwall.
“Today marks the start of the project that will once again make Penzance the proud home to one of the few scheduled passenger helicopter services in the world, with all the benefits to the local economy that entails.
“We also begin work to reinstate the much-missed third leg of the Isles of Scilly transport system, working together to deliver the resilience, choice and connectivity the islands need to achieve growth now and in the future.”
Simon Elliott, Cornwall Councillor for Ludgvan, said “I felt privileged to be part of this important step in returning the iconic helicopter service to Penzance and look forward to the day when this corner of Ludgvan Parish will see holidaymakers and Scillonians once again fly out over Mounts Bay.”
West Cornwall contractor Symons Construction will build the heliport after winning a competitive tender process. The St Ives-based company has more than 25 years’ experience delivering multi million pound projects in West Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond for clients including the RNLI, Cornwall Council, NHS and Tate Gallery.
The company is a voluntary member of the Considerate Constructors Scheme, which commits builders to care about site appearance, the environment, safety and neighbours and received a National Site Award for their work on the Grade II* listed Porthmeor Studios in St Ives.
Symons Construction Director, Glen Kent, said: “We are delighted to be working on the Penzance Heliport Multi-Modal Hub. The contract gives us the opportunity to engage other local sub-contractors and suppliers, enabling this vital transport link to the Isles of Scilly and bringing tangible benefits to the West Cornwall economy.”
Penzance Heliport will help extend the visitor season on the islands and make access to essential services easier for islanders throughout the year.
The service will unlock £31 million of private investment in the Isles of Scilly, stimulate £10 million of economic activity in West Cornwall and provide around 30 permanent jobs. The heliport will also make use of local materials including sustainable timber, Cornish granite and native planting.
Mayor of Penzance, Cllr Dick Cliffe, said: “Cutting the first sods certainly felt like an historic moment. I cannot overstate the importance of this project to the economy of the islands and Penzance.”
Penzance Heliport has been awarded £1.8 million of European Regional Development Funding to support the development of a multi-modal hub connecting Penzance, Tresco and St Mary’s. The remainder of the project funding is from private investors.
The new Isles of Scilly helicopter service, provided by leading operator Sloane Helicopters, will take to the skies in spring 2020. Passengers will fly from Penzance Heliport aboard the state-of-the-art AW139 helicopter, arriving on the islands of Tresco or St Mary’s in just 15 minutes.
Tickets will go on sale from summer 2019 at www.penzanceheliport.co.uk
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