Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Island Transport issues a threat to the West Cornwall Economy

Even before BIH announced the closure of its helicopter service to the islands the tourism engine that is the Isles of Scilly was faltering with visitor numbers declining in the face of high transport costs and competition for other quality holiday destinations.  The first 6 weeks without the helicopter service has identified new problems both for the community in the winter and the health of the tourism economy in 2013.  Chief amongst these concerns for West Cornwall (and the islands) in the short to medium term is getting a more durable runway for Lands End Airport.

Dick Cliffe, Chamber Chairman, explains some of the implications of current transport problems below.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Penzance is lauching its own Discovery Map to promote the Town to residents and visitors alike. The lauch will take place on the 11th of December at the Queens Hotel in Penzance at 7.00 pm. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together all those interested in promoting Penzance and especially those who can bring something of value to the map project - knowledge, skills, or sponsorship!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Chamber Committe Meeting on Tuesday 4 Dec 12 (7.30 pm)

 The Chamber's monthly Committee meetings takes place on Tue 4 December at 7.30 pm in the Wharfside Centre Conference Room (top floor - follow signs for 'Management Office'). 

The agenda for the meetings is here.

All Committee meetings are open meetings and members are welcome to attend. Prospective new members also encoureged to attend.   

The agenda will include an update on what is happening with the Coinagehall and Gasworks site proposals as well as the launch of the Discovery Map Project and IOS transport issues.

The January 2013 meeting will take place on Tue 8 January (same place, time to be confirmed).

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company (IOSSCO) has invested in a new terminal building and ATC tower at Lands End Airport to cope with future demand given the loss of the helicopter service.  The photograph, taken today (in rather evil conditions) shows construction well advanced.  The IOSSCO has also anounced the purchase of an additional Twin Otter aircraft (19 seater) to add to the Skybus fleet to meet demand in 2013.

What Lands End Airport needs, but which appears beyond the resources of the IOSSCO, is a hard (tarmac) strip to replace its grass strip which is prone to getting waterlogged.  As the airport now serves a vital function supporting the Isles of Scilly community and will see a great increase in flights in 2013 this may become a priority.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Poor retail figures in October add to High Street Gloom

Very difficult conditions look likely to persist in the Nation's high streets.  Retail sales were down in October after perking up in September.  See retail-week.com.

Read on for comments on Comet, Argos and BBC item on  Distessed Retail Property Task Force:

Monday, 5 November 2012

FRIST meets with Minister for Transport - 1 Nov 2012

Representatives of the Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST) met with Norman Baker, Transport Minister, on 1 Nov 2012 in London.  FRIST made its case for affordable, reliable all year round lifeline transport links to the mainland.  The meetings was deemed a success.  The Minister is watching to see how Scilly copes with the loss of the helicopter and made no onerous undertakings.  He did however leave the door open for further meetings.  The Chairman of IOS Council, Mike Hicks and another IOS Councillor accompanied FRIST to the meetings.

Click here for FRIST press release.
Click on the headline for the rest of this article.

Committee Meeting - Tue 6 Nov 2012 (7.30)

The Chamber's monthly Committee meetings takes place on Tue 6 Nov at 7.30 pm in the Wharfside Centre Conference Room (top floor - follow signs for 'Management Office'). The agenda can be found here.   All Committee meetings are open meetings (members can attend if they wish).

The December Committee meetings will take place on Tue 4 Dec (same time, same place).

Friday, 2 November 2012

Helicopter service to Scilly ends

There was a good turnout at Penzance Heliport on Wednesday evening to mark the end of BIH service to the Isles of Scilly, the end of an era and the end of a unique service shared between Scilly and Penzance.  It was a service like no other that operated in just about all weathers when other services failed. It was a service important to many peoples lives and Wednesday night's send off from Penzance Heliport reflected this.

Click on the headline to read more:

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Minister invites FRIST to London for meeting on 1 Nov 12

The Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST) campaign to get a reliable, affordable, all year round lifeline passenger service to the Isles of Scilly is gaining traction with Norman Baker inviting FRIST to meet his in London on 1 Nov.  The delegation will include representation from the IOS Council.
Penzance Chamber of Commerce is founder member of this campaign which acknowledges the importance of Scilly's tourism based economy to West Penwith and especially Penzance.

Click here for Minister’s letter dated 3 Oct 2012.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Fog disrupts flights to Scilly

Fog resulted in Skybus having to suspend flights today from Lands End Airport.  A number of tourists due to fly out today have been accommodated in Penzance overnight and are due to sail out on the Scillonian in the morning.   

 There is no BIH helicopter service this week because the helicopter has been assigned to support a Ministry of Defence contract for a two week period.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Impact of loss of BIH Helicopter Service - Cornishman 28 Sep 2012

The Cornishman ran an item in the 27th Sep edition of the paper exploring the impact of the withdrawal of the BIH helicopter service on 1 Nov 2012.  The items include comments from Penzance Chamber of Commerce as we as Marian Bennett, Councillor and spokesperson for FRIST and Robert Dorrien-Smith, owner of Tresco.

Read the Cornishman article here.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

MP becomes Penzance Town Team Partner

Last week, on 19 Sep, Andrew George MP accepted an invitation from Penzance Town Team to become a 'Town Team Partner'.  

Under a Government scheme following on from the Portas Pilot competition, unsuccessful towns had the opportunity fof a £10,000 grant towards one of their unsuccessful Portas Projects if they adopted their local MP as a Town Team Partner and if the MP signed a pledge to support the local Town Team and help it pursue its vision.  Andrew George, who has a long track record of supporting the interests of town centres at Westminster, was pleased to demonstrate his support.

The project to benefit from the grant will be the Town Centre Market initiative.  

The Town Teams other partners include National Trust (West Cornwall) and The Cornishman.


Govt (DCLG) letter 30 Aug 2012
MP’s Partner Registration Form

JJB Sports Appointing Administrators

From:  This is Money (www.thisismoney.co.uk) 24 Sep 2012

JJB Sports will appoint administrators this week after failing to find a buyer for the business, meaning as many as half of its 180 stores could close with a large chunk of its 4,000 workers at risk.  Suspending its shares today, it said it was clear that any offer for the company would not realise any value for shareholders.

But its shops will continue to trade pending completion of the sale and administration process.

This is Money (to read the rest of the item)

Comment.  The announcement of the failure of JJB Sport is another blow to the nations High Streets.  Penzance does not have a branch.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Penzance Town Council write to Minister

In a letter to Norman Baker MP on 12 September Penzance Town Council stated it was fully supportive of Cornwall Councils dredging plans but felt that more of its harbour scheme was achievable within ERDF timescales or could be achieved using other sources of funding.  It is not entirely obvious what decision the Minister will make following the response.  The Minister originally required that both harbour schemes proceed together in lock step but that could mean neither project proceeds.