Nor­we­gian Ro­tar­i­ans back Kirkcud­bright cam­paign

The Galloway News - - News - STEPHEN NOR­RIS

The cam­paign to per­suade the Na­tional Trust for Scot­land to re­open Broughton House and Gar­den has gone in­ter­na­tional.

Fred­erik­stad Ro­tary Club in Nor­way has con­demned Na­tional Trust for Scot­land (NTS) plans to shut the his­toric Kirkcud­bright prop­erty un­til 2021.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion has close ties with the town – Kirkcud­bright Ro­tary Club is its Scot­tish friend­ship club.

In a let­ter to Friends of Broughton House and Gar­den chair­man Mike Duguid, Fred­erik­stad Ro­tary pres­i­dent Brent Bor­rensen de­scribed the clo­sure as “sad­den­ing news”.

He said: “We can­not be­lieve that such a won­der­ful build­ing with its rich his­tory, beau­ti­ful art­works lovely gar­den and pre­cious book col­lec­tion of works by Robert Burns, will be closed to vis­i­tors.

“We fear this will be a mas­sive blow to tourism and the econ­omy of Kirkcud­bright.”

The let­ter was one of many re­ceived by Mr Duguid since the News re­vealed the plight of NTS staff at Broughton last week.

The Ar­chi­tec­tural Her­itage So­ci­ety of Scot­land de­scribed the clo­sure move as “in­cred­i­ble and short­sighted”.

“Old houses need con­stant at­ten­tion and a con­stant air­flow to pre­vent dry rot and other hor­rors,” cases panel sec­re­tary Pa­tri­cia Wood­ley told Mr Duguid.

“The aims of the NTS are be­ing se­verely com­pro­mised as it came into be­ing to pre­serve his­toric houses and land­scapes.”

Kirkcud­bright Cham­bers of Com­merce was “deeply sad­dened” by the sit­u­a­tion.

Chair­per­son Mar­garet King wrote: “Our mem­bers that op­er­ate self-cater­ing, bed and break­fast and camp­sites are re­port­ing high num­bers of book­ings ex­tend­ing through­out the sum­mer and into au­tumn.

“With many hol­i­day­mak­ers stay­ing in the UK this year we see this as an op­por­tu­nity to show­case all that we have to of­fer in Kirkcud­bright and Dum­fries and Gal­loway.”

Mr Duguid said: “We are greatly en­cour­aged by the wide range of sup­port and a gen­uine con­cern – al­most a pas­sion – for the house and gar­den.

“There are so many peo­ple who have vis­ited Broughton House.

“It re­ally strikes them as some­thing spe­cial.”

Mean­while, vis­i­tor ser­vices su­per­vi­sor Carol Ryall is sub­mit­ting a be­spoke res­cue plan to NHS trus­tees on be­half of all Broughton staff.

She said: “The plan will be sub­mit­ted ahead of July 31, the end of the con­sul­ta­tion pe­riod on what this means for our jobs.”

NTS has said Covid-19 phys­i­cal dis­tanc­ing mea­sures meant open­ing some prop­er­ties this year was “not vi­able”.

A spokesper­son said last week: “Un­for­tu­nately we don’t think we can open Broughton House un­til next Easter.”

Cam­paign­ing to re­open Broughton House Staff and coun­cil­lors

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