Work has begun on a new £4.3 million Penzance heliport that will allow passengers to fly to and from the Isles of Scilly once again.
The first turf was cut on the site at Jelbert Way this week by Mayor of Penzance Dick Cliffe, Cornwall councillor Simon Elliott, the chairman of Ludgvan Parish Council Roy Mann and Robert Dorrien-Smith, who is heading up the project.
The plug was pulled on regular flights between the Penzance and Scilly seven years ago, with the operators blaming rising costs, falling passenger numbers and a land dispute over its heliport site at Eastern Green.
The new facility will be adjacent to the previous heliport site on the outskirts of the town and will reinstate direct 15-minute flights between Penzance and the Scilly islands of Tresco and St Mary’s.
Robert Dorrien-Smith 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, added “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.”
The heliport will help extend the visitor season on the Isles of Scilly, add around £10 million to the local economy and provide around 30 permanent jobs.
Mayor of Penzance, 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.”
Helicopters will fly between Penzance, Tresco and St Mary’s year round from spring 2020 and tickets are set to go on sale this summer.