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Wakehurst car parking - your questions answered

Read the statement from the Director of Wakehurst Place, Andy Jackson, about the introduction of car parking charges, and Kew's responses to questions about why the charges are vital to the future of the Gardens.

The Mansion at Wakehurst

Why we have introduced parking charges

Parking charges at Wakehurst were introduced in April 2014 in order to secure a sustainable future for the Gardens.

Wakehurst is owned by the National Trust and Kew has maintained the gardens and woodlands through a lease since 1965. An endowment left to the National Trust contributes £80,000 a year to Wakehurst but, despite income from commercial activities contributing £750,000, Kew is still left with an annual deficit of £1.4 million, which is not sustainable.

The new charging model allows Kew to directly link its income to the number of visitors. This, in turn, will enable us to invest in the long-term future of the landscape and visitor offer.

In March Richard Deverell (Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew), Andy Jackson (Director, Wakehurst) and Andy Semple (National Trust Director for London and South East) hosted a series of public meetings for visitors to Wakehurst who wanted to ask questions or find out more about the charges.

Statement from Head of Wakehurst, Andy Jackson

Andy Jackson, Head of Wakehurst, said: 

'This morning we held the first of our five question and answer sessions to discuss the introduction of parking charges at Wakehurst Place. We want to thank those who came along to share their thoughts.

'It is incredibly reassuring to know just how much our visitors care about Wakehurst Place and safeguarding its future. We wanted to give them the opportunity to meet the decision makers from Kew and the National Trust, and while we fully appreciate that not everyone agrees with the plans, we hope we have been able to offer further clarity as to why we have had to come to this decision.

'Over the past few weeks we have been heartened to find that once our regular visitors hear the full story, and understand the absolutely urgent need to raise income, many are opting to show their support by buying a Wakehurst Place season ticket.

'In the first two weeks since the announcement we have sold over five times the usual number of Season Tickets. These regular visitors, who share our passion for Wakehurst, are prepared to pay from 50p a week (the cost of a season ticket spread out over a year) to help us sustain the future of the garden.'

Our responses

1. Figures

Q: What is Wakehurst's current annual visitation?
A: On average 400,000 visitors a year. 80% of visitors to Wakehurst Place are National Trust members, who access the gardens without payment to Kew.

Q: Is Kew losing money at Wakehurst and, if so, how much per year? And what is your annual income from the premises?
A: Yes. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew absorbs the majority of the running costs of Wakehurst Place. The cost to Kew of running Wakehurst Place is £1.4 million* a year. Kew receives approximately £80,000 per annum towards these costs from the National Trust. The source of this income is an endowment provided to the National Trust by Wakehurst’s last private owner (Sir Henry Price) to contribute to the management of the house and gardens. Despite income from commercial activities contributing £750,000, Kew is still left with an annual deficit of £1.4 million, which is just not sustainable.

Q: What is the 'net cost' to Kew of running Wakehurst, as referred to in the literature to visitors (the Wakehurst newsletter)?
A: £1.4 million a year

Q: How much is the proposed charge for parking at Wakehurst?
A: Cars will be: £2 for the first hour, £5 for two hours, £10 per day.

Wakehurst Place Season Ticket holders, Friends of Kew and those who purchase a day ticket to enter Wakehurst Place will not need to pay an additional fee for car parking.

The Wakehurst Place Season Ticket – at a cost of just 50p week - is excellent value for money for local, regular visitors. 

The Wakehurst Place Season ticket, available from 1st April 2014, from just £25 offers you:

  • free entry to the gardens and Millennium Seed Bank all year round
  • free car parking
  • one free ticket to Kew Gardens (worth £14.50)
  • two free, exclusive open evenings
  • 10% off purchases in the Visitor Centre Shop and Plant centre (some exclusions apply)

Q: How much do you hope to raise?
A: We need to raise as much as we can of the £1.4 million deficit. We anticipate in the first year raising half a million pounds from car parking charges. In addition, if the estimated 70,000 local regular visitors to Wakehurst were to purchase a season ticket, we estimate this would help raise £1 million of new income.

Q: How many complaints have you received so far?
A: We (Wakehurst Place) have been in touch with around 300 visitors on the topic of parking charges.

2. Income raising options

Q: Why don’t you just charge National Trust members for entry (because this would have been the most obvious option)?
A: For the past five years Kew and the National Trust have been working together to identify and evaluate different options to ensure a sustainable future for Wakehurst Place.

A number of income generation options were explored with the National Trust and a representative group of National Trust Wakehurst visitors, and the preferred option was the introduction of parking charges. This will allow Kew to link income directly to visitor numbers for the first time, contributing £500,000 a year to the deficit, which will be vital for the future of Wakehurst.

Under current lease arrangements, National Trust members enter Wakehurst Place free of charge. 

3. The lease

Q: How long is there to run on the National Trust lease?
A: The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew currently maintains the gardens, woodlands and the mansion at Wakehurst Place, in accordance with a lease from the National Trust. The lease runs until 2063.

Q: I am led to understand that when the 100-year lease was agreed with Defra (MAFF in 1965) the condition for the peppercorn rent was free entry to National Trust members. If Defra are unable to fulfil this condition then they should default on the lease and hand the gardens and house back to the National Trust.
Q. Is there a clause in the lease that allows National Trust members into the grounds for free? If this is the case, then in my view, free means free, including arriving by vehicle into the grounds.

A: Free admission to the gardens for National Trust members from England, Wales and Scotland is when the garden is open to the public and for a minimum of three days a week.  Car Parking charges are not precluded in the lease and indeed Kew charged all visitors to park their cars in the early 1970s.

4. Who pays and who doesn’t

Q: Why do Friends of Kew go free?
A: Friends of Kew and Wakehurst Season Ticket holders provide much-needed, direct revenue to Kew via their memberships. A Wakehurst Season Ticket (from £25) gets you free entry and free parking at Wakehurst.

Q: Will garden membership organisations with reciprocal agreements with Kew such as Friends of Heligan, Harold Hillier Gardens and so on, have to pay for parking?
A: Yes. Everyone apart from day ticket buyers, Wakehurst Season Ticket holders and Friends of Kew will pay for parking.

Q: My relative's ashes are scattered in Wakehurst - will I have to pay to park?
A: Yes. The scattering of ashes does not come with free entry to the gardens. The same applies to those who sponsor a bench or tree or any other donation.

Q: Do Blue Badge holders pay?
A: Charges will apply to Blue Badge (disabled) parking at Wakehurst.

Q: Will school groups pay to park?
A: Minibuses and coaches bringing school children on formal education visits will continue to be free.

Q: What about group/coach tours?
A: Group visits in minibuses and coaches will either pay the current discounted group entry rate for each passenger or an agreed fee based on the number of paying visitors in the coach.

5. Contribution of National Trust members

Q: National Trust members already make a valuable contribution to Wakehurst in the shop and restaurant why are we being charged for parking?
A: Despite income from commercial activities, including the shop and restaurant, contributing £750,000, Kew is still left with an annual deficit of £1.4 million, which is just not sustainable. We cannot just grow our way out of this deficit and need to address its root cause – 80% of our visitors visit Wakehurst Place for free. Parking charges will allow us to link income directly to visitor numbers for the first time.

We hope that our local, regular visitors will show their support for Wakehurst by purchasing a Wakehurst Season ticket – just 50p a week for the year.

Q: Why should I buy a Wakehurst Season ticket on top of my National Trust membership? I already make a contribution as a National Trust member via my membership.
A: National Trust members enter Wakehurst Place for free and do not make a direct contribution to Wakehurst via their membership.

However, Wakehurst benefits directly from Wakehurst Season Ticket holders.

We have found that once visitors understand the urgent need to raise income many of them are now buying season tickets. In the first two weeks since the announcement we have sold over five times the usual number of season tickets.

Andy Jackson, Head of Wakehurst Place says, 'Once our visitors hear the full story then the majority are buying season tickets as they want to support Wakehurst Place. Our visitors are loyal and passionate and are telling us that at 50p per week (the cost of a season ticket spread out over a year) the season ticket is very good value for year round visits to such a beautiful garden and international centre for plant conservation.'

6. The Millennium Seed Bank

The costs of the Millennium Seed Bank are completely separate from those of the Wakehurst gardens and woodlands.

Q: Is there any possibility that Kew may close its operations at Wakehurst including the Millennium Seed Bank or any part of its operations?
A: Closing the operations at Wakehurst Place is not an option being considered. Both the National Trust and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew are absolutely committed to ensuring a strong future for Wakehurst Place. Income generated from the introduction of car parking charges is one of the ways in which we can raise much needed funds to put Wakehurst Place on a sustainable footing.

The work of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is funded separately.

Q: Who owns the land the Millennium Seed Bank is built on? Does Kew pay rent for this?
A: Kew owns the land that the Millennium Seed Bank is built on

Q: Are Kew trying to offset the cost of the seed bank project by charging National Trust members for parking?
A: Absolutely not. The work of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is funded separately.

7. Pricing points

Q: How did you set the pricing points?
A: Price points were set as a result of consultation with a representative sample of National Trust Wakehurst visitors. 40,000 email surveys were sent out to National Trust members who live within one hour’s drive of Wakehurst Place.

Entry price of £2 is for those who simply wish to use the visitor centre for retail or catering.  As 53% of our visitor stay for two hours or less the £5 charge is to enable a reasonable level of income from the largest percentage of visitors to the gardens. 

8. These charges are counter-productive

  • The amount visitors will have to spend in the car park to increase your revenue will be lost in the shops and cafes.
  • Losing 40% of visitors will mean that not enough revenue will be generated to make up the deficit anyway.
  • As for being in profit, how many visitors does it take to make up a £1.4 million, especially with an estimated 40% drop in visitors?

A: It is vital that we find additional income streams for Wakehurst if we are to ensure its future. The current model, whereby 80% of visitors access the gardens with no direct income to Kew, is not sustainable.

9. Parking Congestion outside Wakehurst

Q: What about potential/ likely parking problems in the vicinity of Wakehurst due to the charges?

Q: Won’t there be an environmental cost to the area as visitors with cars will start parking along the roadside and grass verges?

A: We have met with the parish council on the issue of parking outside of Wakehurst Place. We have agreed to closely monitor the situation and take appropriate action should any problems become apparent.

10. Why should we be penalised for Kew’s inability to run their business properly?

A: Wakehurst Place is run efficiently and effectively. Over the years Kew has grown it into one of the National Trust’s most popular and visited properties.

The situation we find ourselves in is a result of the vast majority of visitors to Wakehurst Place entering the gardens for free. This situation is not sustainable and if we are to secure Wakehurst’s future, direct revenue needs to be generated from all of our visitors. The introduction of car parking charges will allow Kew to link income directly to visitor numbers for the first time.

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25 July 2014
Tom, I read your comments with interest, myself & many other NT members have tried to spread the message of what is happenning at Wakehurst. You will see many comments on this site, there are hundreds on trip advisor as well as the Wakehurst facebook site. In the first quarter this year there has been a 52% drop in visitors. There is a petition circulating against these charges, so far 500+ local NT members have signed it. If you are interested I could send you a link to wherever you wanted me to, I am not allowed to on this site! You may wish to consider a review on trip advisor, any support is really appreciated. R
25 July 2014
A group (9) of us visiting Wakehurst Place at the weekend in 3 cars we were confronted by a heated discussion between staff and a gentleman who was questioning parking charges for National Trust members. Up and till that point we were unaware that parking charges had been introduced, as it was free to park when we last visited in 2010. When I queried this with a member of staff they pointed to a sign, and politely explained the position. However, we were not prepared to pay what would have amounted to £30 to park nor were we interested in the suggestion to purchase a season ticket as we were unlikely to be returning again within the year which would have meant parking would have actually cost us even more. As about half of our group were National Trust members, who objected to having to pay to park, we decided to leave and visit Sheffield Park instead where we had a fantastic time, and between us spent a small fortune in the restaurant and shop. Do the management at Wakehurst Place not realise that visiting any attraction is becoming expensive enough as it is, without the additional cost of parking. Also being located in an area with numerous other attractions within a few minutes drive shows a degree of shortsightedness, besides which when we took out National Trust membership it was on the understanding that parking at NT properties was free (with a few exceptions which we were aware of at the time). I have to say that there seems to be a certain amount of greed (some might say daylight robbery) attaching itself to historic sites where prices are already inflated by so called 'gift aid', which is always the first price quoted.
23 July 2014
What about charges for wedding parties....this makes a huge additional cost to the venue hire!
23 July 2014
Everyone agrees Wakehurst is beautiful & it would be nice to see it had a future, but instead of facing up to the fact its losing support for reasons already well documented, it appears that if those working at Wakehurst praise themselves for jobs well done, all the problems will go away! Management need to come out of hiding & do something to win all those previous customers back! See Wakehurst facebook various articles.
23 July 2014
Although many NT members living locally are now aware of the targeting of members with outrageous car parking charges at Wakehurst, NT members visiting from outside the area face a different experience! As you turn off the main road & approach the car park & before you reach the barriers there is a small sign which advises charges apply to NT members. As charges don't normally apply the sign is easily missed & this sign does not detail the charges, such as £10 for 2+ hours! You take your ticket from the ticket machine in the £200,000 upgraded car & the barriers let you in. After leaving the vehicle & proceed to the path that takes you to reception, there is a small sign on the pathway but again this can be easily missed if you are not expecting charges or you may be in a hurry to use the toilets! You show your NT pass & they wave you through reception, from my experience no mention is made that charges apply to NT members! On the walkway in there are signs facing away from you when entering which advises about getting your ticket validated on leaving & it advises you about buying the £25 season ticket, that sign makes no mention of the charges! The only sign I saw in the grounds that detailed the charges was in the gents toilets near the resturant, thats ok if you used them! On leaving the grounds & arriving at receotion it would be easy to find for the first time what the charges were! Also in reception there is a rotation screen which shows on one page the actual charges, it is one of several screens & goes round about every 90 seconds. As a NT member it would be very easy not to realise the charges until you were about to leave, NT members don't normally have to pay to park so why should they expect them! I understand there were more signs initially which detailed the actual charges, they have now dissappeared, I wonder why! Someone else has said this predatory pricing policy has done an excellent job in keeping numbers down, ensuring Wakehurst looks deserted, very few use the shop, cafe etc! The time bands of £5 - £10 are aimed to trap the majority of visitors without any knowledge of what is taking place at Wakehurst! Perhaps you would like to comment!
23 July 2014
Why is this section headed 'your questions answered', as so far I have not seen one question being answered? However I note that the last few TripAdvisor reviews do now have a response, albeit fairly standard. Yesterday we had a lovely stroll through Isabella Plantation in the heart of Richmond Park. Such a beautiful park-within a park-usually at its best in May/June when the mass displays of azaleas and rhododendrons are in full display, but nonetheless beautiful all year round, plus free parking, free admission, and free of the stress of clock watching to ensure we don't overstay our 1/2 hour parking. Highly recommended.
22 July 2014
We visited Wakehurst last week and I've never seen it so empty. The grounds, restaurant and shop were all very quiet; it was lovely to get served so quickly and to wander around the grounds more or less on our own. I think the predatory pricing structure for the parking charges is doing an excellent job of keeping the numbers down. The leap from £5 to £10 pounds in the timing bands is designed to extract the maximum £10 and the trap is so obvious that the public know that they're being duped.
21 July 2014
Wakehurst - This is an update on how well their campaign targeting just NT members is going - How well are your season ticket sales going - On the 22nd May 2014, a NT Director stated 'they will nonetheless halve their £1.5m annual deficit if 30,000 people buy their annual season ticket. Early signs are that this number is eminently achievable, as many have decided to support the property through this method. Naturally, we will lose some members who use their membership almost entirely to visit Wakehurst, but we accept this.' On the 16th June Andy Jackson stated the sale of season tickets was going well & 3,250 had been sold, this figure was a long way short of the 30,000 referred to by the NT Director. I now that on the 30th June 2014 you have in fact sold 3,555 new season tickets & 364 renewals, by my calculations this is approximately £101,000, a long way short of your targets & proof that your attack on NT members is failing! Your management decisions have been appalling, the 1st quarter is the period you should have your highest sales for the summer months, I wait with interest to see what your sales will be for the 2nd quarter! You may wish to comment although if you are true to form you will ignore! More facts to follow
21 July 2014
I went into the car park on Sunday whilst the event was going on at 1pm, there were 3 'official' looking characters standing near to the barriers taking note of the number of vehicles turning around and in the few minutes I was there I saw 4 doing so. The main car park was about 90% full whereas the overflow was hardly used, I did a quick check to see if those cars in the main car park had NT car park stickers and can confirm that about 10% did which just shows that NT members are generally keepin g away even an event cannot persuade them!.
20 July 2014
Their management have no shame, I have been saying for a long time they have discriminated against the disabled, elderly & families with young children, apart from targeting NT members. What do they do, NOTHING! They have ignored every issue raised to date & in June they asked for support, their management is a joke, the only thing they do well, is hide.
19 July 2014
As a National Trust member, with a family membership (100 pounds a year), I have decided that I shall now park along the road and walk to Wakehurst with my two children and my elderly mother with her 2 walking sticks. I am not paying ten pounds to park. Look out for me along the road during the school holidays. Perhaps, the management would like to comment?
19 July 2014
Tanya, they know full well that a visit is going to take longer than 2 hours but they don't care. Like you, I have lovely memories of Wakehurst but utterly refuse to pay ten pounds to park. It is extremely distasteful to make no concessions for the elderly and disabled. I know of no other attractions that don't make an allowance. They are out to punish all NT members young and old. Do leave a review on Trip Advisor And on Wakehurst Facebook too.
18 July 2014
Sorry £10 for 2 hours plus parking is too much. It is not in keeping with other NT properties and is way out of line with other attractions in Sussex. Sorry guys but Wakehurst is off our list for a day out. Normally we would attend 3-4 times a year with up to four of us at a time. Perhaps Wakehursts need to do some market research on what local attractions charge. Its a dissapointment,. Sheffield park garden don't charge at all.
18 July 2014
If Kew insists that their current car park charge policy for Wakehurst 'must' continue, although I believe they have recently carried out a minor adjustment, a simple annual car park season ticket costing say £10 but without additional benefits which may or may not be used, has been suggested as a compromise for those who pay to park. The ticket could operate automatically on entry and exit using technology without bothering visitors or Wakehurst staff. A car park season ticket could be used by either member of a couple without the other being present, current cost £50, too expensive for many. Importantly the Wakehurst season ticket would fulfill its primary purpose and the product marketed as a season ticket for regular visitors to Wakehurst who normally pay for admission. Not something to attempt to sell to angry NT members who already have free admission by their membership, so think they are being asked to pay twice Those visitors who are happy to purchase the Wakehurst season ticket for whatever reason can of course continue to do so. An important advantage for Kew of a car park season ticket is that their revenue raising idea remains intact, it just gives visitors another option as to how they could pay for their parking so hopefully some will return,if it is not already too late with all the bad publicity.
18 July 2014
I live well within 1 hour of Wakehurst and never received 1 of the 40,000 emails sent to NT members for consultation. I think the charges are outrageous - I have an annual NT membership and I will certainly never visit Wakehurst again whilst these charges are in place. All the NT members I have contacted to date are of the same view. I hope the NT loses a lot of income due to these changes. Perhaps it might then think about handing over some of it's income to support Wakehurst instead of asking its already fee paying members to do so. Double shame on you for charging blue badge holders. What are you thinking of? Also, a visit to these gardens is rarely completed within 2 hours, thus making the daily fee the only option. I am really sad about this situation. I spent many, many happy hours enjoying Wakehurst with my children but sadly I will not be able to do so with my grandchildren.
18 July 2014
Wakehurst Season Ticket - Despite their claims that the season ticket is good value, it obviously is not! Only the person using it can park, you are identified by photo, what happens therefore with husband/wife wanting to visit on their own, or wife wanting to take the children etc, it all depends who applies for the ticket! It would appear that you would probably need two separate season tickets! Of course 2x £25 is good value to Wakehurst & yet another rip off, you would have thought they would have had the decency to issue a family season ticket! I suppose we shouldn't be surprised when dealing with their management team, once again they are displaying their appalling customer service skills, all they want is as much money as possible from NT members to feed their debt!
17 July 2014
As an NT member I will never visit Wakehurst again, there are too many other great places to visit where the parking is free. Hope the charges make up for the reduction in NT visitors including loss of revenue in the restaurants and the shop.
16 July 2014
Went to Wakehurst for the first time this week - a lovely place which we would have liked to have explored fully but the ridiculous £10 charge for over two hours of parking meant we explored with time very much on our minds. Spent just under two hours there which was still a £5 parking fee. These parking charges must b putting off a lot of National Trust members.
15 July 2014
Tony - See Wakehurst face book site, post from Ray on the 12th July with pictures etc! There has been no response yet again from their management!
15 July 2014
If, as mentioned below, staff at Wakehurst Place have actually removed the notice explaining the parking charges to National Trust members to a less obvious spot, then this is absolutely despicable, and one Wakehurst Place should be thoroughly ashamed of. What”s more it will only go to alienate even more National Trust members, and possibly the disabled, who will rightly feel they’ve been ‘had over,’ and not return in the future. So although it may go some way to help WP with their finances this year, it will. be even more of a disaster for them next year. It would appear that Wakehurst Place is beginning to reveal its true colours, and that is a lack of moral compass from what was a highly respected organisation. I also now begin to question the National Trusts part in this whole debacle, and as such am now considering reviewing my legacy to them, which believe me will cost them dearly.
13 July 2014
I can't see anything about motorcycle charges. Is there a charge or not?
13 July 2014
Wakehurst update - Wakehurst Place have now started playing unfair unfair towards National Trust members,in an attempt to increase their finances. Yesterday the poster at the car park barriers showing the charges had been removed. There are no changes to what we pay,but now you have to pass the barrier,park up and head off to the main building where the daily fees are exhibited on the board heading towards the main reception. For many including the disabled,elderly and those with families it will mean going over the ten minute free time. The word I use is ENTRAPMENT. If you fail to notice the sign with the charges it going to cost. Some may have travelled from a distance and rush off to the toilets,others may be trapped in the shop or cafe. This will only cause more arguments with the beleaguered staff on the reception having to deal with dissatisfied customers,although I would think by now it's gone over most of their heads.
12 July 2014
Wakehurst - I am surprised there has been no response from the management at Wakehurst in response to the fact signatures on the petition have now gone over 300! What is more worrying is the fact the signs that visibily displayed the car parking charges been removed, the only sign now displaying the charges is on the walk way to reception, so you have to leave your vehicle to realise! So this tends to confirm the type of management we are having to deal with, not only are they inept & incompetent at managing a budget, they also appear to be very devious in how they deal with their potential customers! Hopefully visitors will pick up on this! Those of us who have been dealing with them are already aware they conduct their business in a very dubious & questionable way, the consultation process is just one example. No wonder Wakehurst is losing support, their management team have done nothing to earn support, the only thing they are very good at is hiding & not answering for their actions!
29 June 2014
Kew/Wakehurst still avoding answering the question! I have had the following & have responded - Message for Andy Jackson/Management Team WP - I have had the following response from your Social Media Team - Dear Mike, Thank you for your message. I understand that you have raised these questions with my colleagues at Kew who have responded to each question individually. They are best informed to answer your questions and if you have any more, please do feel free to get back in touch with them. With best regards, the Social Media Team. Yes I have had a response from Kew, but as this differs to statements made by management staff at Wakehurst, can you please answer the following question? - Kew told me that 40,000 emails were sent out to NT members to see if they qualified, I assume to complete the survey, this is different to what your director has said which was 40,000 NT members WERE surveyed, which gives the impression that 40,000 NT members had the chance to respond in the survey! Which statement is correct please? Qualified for the survey could be a very small number from the 40,000 sent out! A further response from Wakehurst still doesnt provide any answers!
28 June 2014
I have had the following regarding the 40,000 email surveys, I think there is a difference in what has been said by Andy Jackson & that which has been stated by Kew, you may have a view! In April 2014 Andy Jackson/Wakehurst said - Q: How did you set the pricing points? A: Price points were set as a result of consultation with a representative sample of National Trust Wakehurst visitors. 40,000 email surveys were sent out to National Trust members who live within one hour’s drive of Wakehurst Place. Wakehurst advised me today - Thank you for your message. All information you have received through our colleagues at Kew is correct. They are best informed to provide any further information you require, so please do contact them with your queries. Many thanks. According to the response from Kew this is what they said - I have received this - Our ref: FOI 280514 19 June 2014 Dear Mike Joyce, I am writing on behalf of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew ("RBG Kew") in response to your request for information dated Were 40,000 sent? 40,000 National Trust members were sent an email to see if they qualified for the survey and if so, to invite them to take part
28 June 2014
This is an update regarding the dubious & questionable consultation process that preceded the car parking charges - Mike Joyce Kew/Wakehurst still avoding answering the question! I have had the following & have responded - Message for Andy Jackson/Management Team WP - I have had the following response from your Social Media Team - Dear Mike, Thank you for your message. I understand that you have raised these questions with my colleagues at Kew who have responded to each question individually. They are best informed to answer your questions and if you have any more, please do feel free to get back in touch with them. With best regards, the Social Media Team. Yes I have had a response from Kew, but as this differs to statements made by management staff at Wakehurst, can you please answer the following question? - Kew told me that 40,000 emails were sent out to NT members to see if they qualified, I assume to complete the survey, this is different to what your director has said which was 40,000 NT members WERE surveyed, which gives the impression that 40,000 NT members had the chance to respond in the survey! Which statement is correct please? Qualified for the survey could be a very small number from the 40,000 sent out! Further to the above a recent development has been some members of Wakehurst staff & their frends have made personal attacks on some NT members daring to protest about the charges. Comments like, petty, skin flint cretins & wanting something for nothing are just a few of the comments being made!
23 June 2014
After over an hour in the car, thought we were going to enjoy a lovely long day strolling round Wakehurst yesterday, only to get there and find NT ,members now have to pay £10 if staying more than 2 hours!!. I promptly turned the car around and headed for Standen. I will not be paying Wakehurst a visit again until they change their policy on ridiculous car parking fees
21 June 2014
I disagree with parking charges full stop. We pay our annual dues, which includes car parking at NT premises. To charge at just two sites is just money-grabbing and seriously poor management. If one charges any fees, however small initially, eventually the fees will rise. The NT, by franchising - sub-letting by another means - is simply handing over any profits to providers. That's just stupid. Rather than query parking fees, the whole idea of sub letting its businesses - cafe, shops, parking, should be reconsidered.
21 June 2014
Still no response to the questions raised concerning the dubious consultation process! I wonder how they can expect any support from NT members when at other times they ignore them! Customer support is not a given it has to be earned! Since the statement from Andy Jackson more reviews have been posted on trip advisor, NT members don't appear to be returning, on a beautiful friday Wakehurst is described as being deserted all day. What action do they propose next!
Abuse Reported. Comment will be reviewed and removed if necessary.
20 June 2014
I have sent to question following the fiasco of car parking charges - Question following recent statement about a drop in visitor numbers. In your document 'car park charges your questions answered' it is stated consultation took place with a representative sample of NT Wakehurst visitors living within 1 hour of WP by sending out 40,000 emails. According to the information provided by Kew I am advised that 40,000 were sent out to NT members to see if they qualified, this to me represents quite a difference in what we have been advised by the same organusation, the first statement appears to be quite clear, the second statement doesnt suggest 40,000 members connected with Wakehurst were surveyed. I am advised that only 1,794 responded & 53% suggested they visited for less than 2 hours, about 900+ NT members! Taking into account approximately 300,000 NT members visit yearly, is this really a representative sample! or even 1,794 a representative sample of 300,000 NT visitors! Where you suggest a representative sample of 40,000 that would appear to be a reasonable exampe, but even that appears doubtful when Kew state 40,000 were sent out to see if they qualified, how many actually qualified therefore from that 40,000! Perhaps you would like to comment?
20 June 2014
Apart from joining the many others who have complained about the car parking charges for National Trust members who are visiting for more than 2hrs and the poor / flawed consultation process, I question the number of complaints that you and National Trust have received. You mention that you have been in touch with around 300 visitors on the topic of parking charges, but how many other complaints have you and National Trust received by email etc.? I would urge Kew and National Trust to have an urgent re-think before the loss of visitor numbers and bad public relations gets out of hand.
18 June 2014
Margaret, What you propose should have been implemented at the start, if they are going to charge, it should be small & applied to all visitors. Only NT members have been targeted after what has been a very dubios consultation process, this has been so badly managed by both Kew & NT. Their senior management have a lot to answer, I am surprised it has taken them so long to find out things are not going well, surely local management must be aware in the drop in visitors etc! They need to do something quickly if they want any chance of saving the situation.
17 June 2014
Very interesting as a member of the National Trust and regular visitor to Wakehurst Place I am appalled at being charged £10.00 to park my car. Would it not be fairer for all if everyone paid £2.00 to park their car whichever type of membership you hold, after all we spend a lot of money in your restaurants and shop!
16 June 2014
Wakehurst update - Visitors down by 50%, more than expected according to Andy Jackson & more comments about the part played by NT in this fiasco - Listen to Bright fm or visit their web site - Andy Jackson now pleading for support from NT members, the same people they were previously treating with contempt! Will the truth now come out about the questionable 40,000 consultation email process!
14 June 2014
For anyone following this matter you may wish to see updates on Wakehurst Place Car Park face book, Duncan Tanners review of Wakehurst Landmark face book site 18/04,my review of Wakehurst face book site 31/05! Its been suggested that visitors to Wakehurst have dropped by 50% since the introduction of car parking charges & that Kew have been censored from making any comments by the NT! You can also follow further reviews on trip advisor.
13 June 2014
The luxury bag maker Mulberry recently increased the cost of their bags by 100%, but had to reverse that decision within days after sales slumped. Is there a lesson to be learnt here?
12 June 2014
Its suggested that 40,000 email surveys were sent out to NT members living within 1 hours drive of Wakehurst of which 1783 were returned, 53% of those voted for car park charges! I wonder whether 40,000 were sent out, I have been able to identify many NT members living locally who never received one, I wonder why! I am advised there were 2 local focus groups held in April 2013, they included local frequent vsitors to Wakehurst, I now many local frequent NT members who were not invited, I wonder who was invited! All of this suggests to me that proper & fair consultation took place!
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11 June 2014
Well said Rosalie. I agree with all your comments. NT take note - we have had enough. I have a disabled mother, and (as Rosalie has pointed out) it takes me a long while to get her to the entrance. Also, why do disabled visitors have to pay to park? This decision was most obviously made by someone who has no knowledge of what is involved in looking after a disabled friend or relative. Appalling.
11 June 2014
This is appalling! My family and I have enjoyed visits to Wakehurst Place for some years now, especially my elderly mother, who is registered disabled. However we have all agreed to stop going there due to these outrageous parking charges. Yet another organisation gets the awful British obsession with having to charge for parking. When will this nonsense stop? At the conclusion of our membership this year, we'll not renew our membership with the NT.
11 June 2014
We are going to have a short break in Sussex next week and looked on the Wakehurst website for opening times. I was very surprised to see the car parking charges as we would end up paying £10 to spend enough time in the gardens. We have now decided to go to Nymans as we are NT members and have free car parking there!
10 June 2014
Visited Wakehurst Place today for the first time this year and staggered at the cost of car parking charges - nearly as bad as Gatwick Airport! Shame that the motorist is again the target for raising revenue. Although we are not opposed to the introduction of a car parking charge, these costs are just ludicrous - £5.00 for up to two hours or £10 for over 2 hours. Why can't the charges be more reasonable, e.g. £1.00 per hour? We hope people do vote with their feet and don't go back as maybe the management will get the message and review these ridiculous charges. We will certainly not be returning until more reasonable charges are introduced. Shame we had to rush around this lovely place in under 2 hours.
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10 June 2014
Louise, I'm sorry I cant agree over the value of the season ticket, I think that & the car parking charges are outrageous, fortunately I dont appear to be the only NT member to think like that. This has been badly managed by both Kew & the NT, the NT don't really care because they will get their money because visitors have increased at Nymans & Sheffield Park! Kew could have managed their budget better & now the great hope is to make NT members pay for any shortfall. We will see what happens in time but it doesnt look good for Wakehurst if you read comments on this page, trip advispr, Lewes Forum & various face book sites!
10 June 2014
Siobhan, I will keep you updated, there are several of us that are pushing for answers, although we have been able to find some of the information. It apears there were two local focus groups held by the consultants back in April 2013, it was supposed to be with regular local NT visitors to Waehurst, we still havn't found anyone who actually attended! According to Andy Semple a NT director they were not consultation meetings but information providing meetings, he blamed Kew for providing the wrong information! He also told me I could still visit Wakehrst free if I didnt take a car, I presume he meant walk, cycle or catch a bus, a typical uncaring response from senior management in the NT. I think the NT have lost the plot, although they are looking after themselves, over the past 3 years senior executives have increased from 11 to 21 & more of them are now being paid salaries of £100,000+ salaries! There are lots of reviews on trip advisor & I have found another one the 'Lewes Forum' which may of interest!
10 June 2014
Thank you Mike Joyce for putting in the FOI request re the email consultation of NT members re parking charges. I have been trying to find out the results without success - did not realise an FOI request was an option. I was very annoyed that the "consultation" meetings were timed after the car parking decisions had been made and prices set. This is not my idea of consultation. I hope you will be able to post any news about the survey here when you get a response.
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9 June 2014
Someone needs to question how they have managed their budget over the years that has driven them to charge outrageous car parking charges targeting NT members! In 2001/2002 their employed 573 staff (80%) of their total expenditure, this was commented on in a report, in 2008/09 staffing had increased to 715 & now its over 800! This is not all about government cut backs, Kew recently purchased Havelock Farm on the Wakehurst estate for £800,000! Many NT members strongly object to paying these additional charges, see the numerous reviews on trip advisor
9 June 2014
I have my doubts about the 40,000 email surveys, I have done a FOI request which is currently outstanding, there were about 1783 responses I am advised of which its suggested 53% wanted to pay to park! The NT anticipate 83% of those members who no longer visit Wakehurst will visit other properties so they don't care! A NT director told me that I could still go for free as long as I didn't drive, I presume he meant walk, cycle or catch a bus, what a caring &thoughtful man!
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9 June 2014
The car parking charges are outrageous, £10 for 2+ hours is shocking, as a NT member I will now avoid visiting WP as I strongly object to paying extra on top of the membership fee! Kew appear to be pleading poverty hence the reason they are trying to rip NT members off with these charges. Back in 2001/2002 they employed about 573 staff, this was mentioned in a report at that time, this related to 80% of their expenditure, in 2008/2009 staffing had increased to 715, now its above 800, was this good business in the circumstances! You recently purchased Havelock Farm on the Wakehurst estate for £800,000 was this good business in the circumstances! Have you read recent reviews on trip advisor, the way you & the NT have treated their members you don't actually deserve visitors, through your poor management you are making beautiful Wakehurst suffer
8 June 2014
As a National Trust life member I was initially shocked at the cost of parking, however, after carefully thinking it through it seems that without these charges the nation will lose a beautiful place to visit. £25 for unlimited visits throughout the year to gardens, that are not run by the NT, I think is a bargain. With also a free ticket and a discount in the shop included I will make our money back in no time! I look forward to continuing to visit these gardens and supporting a stunning place.
5 June 2014
Couldn't agree more with Rosalie regarding writing a bad, but honest, review on sites like TripAdvisor and Twitter. Many people use these sites to plan visits so will be a way of spreading the word further afield. It will also inform those who maybe travelling some distance to Wakehurst of these ludicrous and discriminatory parking charges so they can decide in advance whether they wish to pay them or not. But certainly those that do decide to visit should consider reducing the overall cost by paying only the basic admission price and not the Gift Aid price, and bringing their own picnic to avoid the costly restaurant/cafe prices. As for the gifts and nursery shops, I would avoid them anyway because they are just so expensive. Finally I would urge all those National Trust members and disabled visitors who are affected by these charges to vote with their feet, not only at Wakehurst, but also at Kew Gardens to show those in authority the strength of feeling felt by those affected. Those of us that love Wakehurst don't really want to take such action, but there is now a principle at stack.