Haddo House set to introduce parking charges
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A FUNDING stream for Haddo House to provide seasonal events staff is set to come online in the coming weeks.
Last year Haddo applied to Aberdeenshire Council to take on a lease of the car park which was in council ownership on a 30-year lease in order to instal ticket machines to generate income.
This it was explained was to pay for seasonal visitor officers, the first of whom has now been appointed after lockdown restrictions were eased to a level to make this viable.
As a spokeswoman explained: "For some time now we have been running on empty at Haddo.
"We received a little funding this summer from the Heritage Lottery Fund to help us get beyond the uncertainty of Covid-19, which was a life saver for the country park; for the first time in years we were able to employ two seasonal staff.
"We have been able to offer free parking at Haddo for the last five years, but that will change in the coming weeks.
"We will be reintroducing parking charges so that we can continue to make park improvements and provide educational and volunteer opportunities for the local community.
"All visitors will be expected to pay regardless of whether they are National Trust for Scotland members or not; the NTS does not own the car park nor the drive.
"Only visitors to the house, when it opens, will be offered free parking."
She continued: "Aberdeenshire Council does a fabulous job of maintaining the park, but everything else is run by a volunteer forum.
"One employee coordinates all the activities and events in the park, applies for funding, monitors the wildlife, responds to and reports issues, adds social media content, reports to the volunteer board and funders, runs promotions and competitions, project manages all park improvements - there are many in the pipeline - coorindates the volunteers and issues all communication.
"Without your support all that would stop.
"Charges will be nominal, no more than the cost of a coffee to park all day, and there will be annual parking passes for regular park users.
"We would appreciate your support as we make this transition, and please know that every penny you pay for parking will go straight back into the park.
"We've become very good at making the tiniest amounts of money stretch, so rest assured your contributions will be no different."
A formal date for the charges to be introduced has not yet been confirmed.