Abbotsford House has been forced to introduce parking charges because of financial pressures

Visitors will soon no longer be able to park up ‘scot-free’ at one of the Borders biggest tourist attractions.

By Paul Kelly
Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 10:16 am
Abbotsford House.
Abbotsford House.

The ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic have forced the introduction of parking charges at Abbotsford House, the former estate of Sir Walter Scott.

The estate near Melrose is making just 60 per cent of the money it generated pre-lockdown.

The cash raised from the introduction of parking charges – starting at 50p for one hour – will be used to cover the costs of maintaining the walks, toilets and parking facilities, used for free by non-paying visitors.

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Giles Ingram, the Trust’s chief executive, said: “Our car park is often full, which is a wonderful thing to see, but many people are taking up spaces and not contributing financially towards the management and maintenance of the facilities they are using.

"We are now running the risk of losing income from paying customers who cannot park. Certainly, once we begin welcoming back coaches, we will have a very real problem.

“We are a small independent charity and, like many other businesses in the tourism sector, have taken a major financial hit with Covid lockdowns. Even now, despite the impressions of a Staycation boom, our revenues are only 60% of pre-Covid levels.

"Car park charging would give us a new revenue stream, which we would use to cover the costs of maintaining the walks, toilets and parking facilities, the areas used for free by non-paying visitors. It also enables us to raise funds towards investing in additional parking bays in future.”

The parking charges will be: 50p for one hour; £1 for two hours; £2 for four hours; £3 all day; or £15 for a season ticket. They'll be in place from 10am to 5pm from October - and free outwith those times. There will be no charge for the first 20 minutes to allow drop off and pick up, and parking for the disabled and Friends of Abbotsford will also remain free.

Mr Ingram added: “We would ask people not to park in residential streets to avoid parking fees. This will cause obstructions and create difficulties for our neighbours. We will be working with the authorities to monitor and address any such problems.

"Please understand that the beautiful walks you enjoy do cost money to maintain, and we want them to remain in good condition for years to come.”