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Scilly Isles' transport links with mainland discussed with minister

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: February 14, 2014

FRIST co-ordinator Marian Bennett.

FRIST co-ordinator Marian Bennett.

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A MEETING with a transport minister has reinforced the perception of a lack of unity over Scilly achieving more reliable and affordable transport links with the mainland.

Campaign body Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport (FRIST) initiated the recent meeting with Baroness Susan Kramer. It was attended by Andrew George, MP, and Cornwall Council's Nigel Blackler and described by co-ordinator Marian Bennett as "more positive in tone than previous meetings" .

There was no official islands' council representation, although Mrs Bennett is a senior councillor.

She said: "Although not required to do so by the DfT, we made several efforts to contact the chairman of (the islands' council) transport committee to invite him to join us, with no success."

The committee chairman, Chris Thomas, is absent from the islands, but his deputy Steve Sims said: "This was absolutely the first I knew of the meeting, I have corresponded with Chris Thomas and this e-mail was the first he had heard of it. So as far as I can tell no one in the authority appears to have been in receipt of any correspondence regarding this matter."

Mrs Bennett said they had come away from the meeting with Baroness Kramer "with a feeling that the door was open" and nothing had been ruled out.

"But we were told that a consensus view of what was needed in terms of the objective of an affordable, reliable and accessible transport system must emanate initially and clearly from the islands.

"The minister did not rule out revenue support," said Mrs Bennett.

Mr Sims said he could only give a personal view on transport and funding, saying: "Our links have – or will be – in receipt of in the region of £7m, which for a population the size of ours is substantial, especially in the current economic climate."

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