Jobs At Risk as NTS Sites to Stay Closed Until 2021

Historic properties in Angus, Tayside and Fife face closure until summer next year or even beyond.

At JM Barrie’s birthplace in Kirriemuir, Barry Mill, Carnoustie, and House of Dun, near Montrose, doors are likely to remain closed until next year.

Falkland Palace and Kellie Castle in Fife are not expected to reopen until June 2021, while Hill of Tarvit mansion, near Cupar, is likely to remain closed until the 2022 tourist season.

Sites of national importance, including the Bannockburn Visitor Centre, could be out of bounds until at least 2022.

The National Trust for Scotland revealed its plans for sites across the country as consultation continues on possible redundancies for 417 staff.

Visitor services assistants are likely to be worst hit by job losses affecting more than half the trust’s workforce, with just over 20% of the 249 employed likely to keep their posts.

With coronavirus restrictions all but wiping out its income, the conservation charity warned a potential deficit of more than £34 million could mean it faces closure altogether.

Estate and holiday accommodation has been shut since March and even if restrictions are relaxed later in the summer, it said there was now, at best, a very short trading window from mid-august to September.

The trust said it was obliged to immediately adjust operations and activities to remain viable and rebuild.

Sales of some non-heritage land and property have been brought forward and it is hoped a fundraising campaign will generate £2m.

A trust spokeswoman said: “Due to the loss of income resulting from the coronavirus lockdown, as well as expected shortfalls and ongoing public health restrictions into next year and beyond, we’ve already confirmed that we expect only to be in a position to open around half of our built heritage properties this year, in addition to countryside, estates and gardens.”

“The limited number of properties reopening is also in part due to the fact that we have already missed some of the busiest parts of our visitor season even if lockdown begins to ease.

“At this point, we are in a formal consultation regarding proposed workforce changes to adapt to significantly changed circumstances.

“The trust has assessed its portfolio of properties to determine where it is feasible and financially prudent to reopen properties this summer and again early in 2021.

“A number of factors will be used to make the final decisions, including the need for the trust to operate within its significantly much-reduced financial means, taking account of enabling safe visiting within varied property types, whilst also ensuring essential care and maintenance continues.”

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