Posted: 24/04/2014 at 00:02
Actually, Wakehurst Place is £1.4m in deficit and it takes £2.2m to run it. The reason why it's in deficit is because under the arrangement for leasing the grounds, and later the house at Kew, any National Trust members visiting could get into it for free. 80% of people who visit Wakehurst Place are National Trust members so the only income it derives is from the fee paying 20% non members and from the shop and restaurant. A discussion on charging entry for NT members went down like a lead ballon, but a compromise was that NT members could pay a £2 car parking charge. The alternative was that they had to cut back on horticulture and that was deemed unacceptable. There was some research done on car parking fees and this was considered the best option, although it has been opposed by some NT members. Unfortunately, you can't please all of the people all of the time. The alternative is to increase NT membership fees for all members but that has a negative effect as no doubt for every £1 fees go up, you lose another 1,000 members (that's just a guess, but you get my drift).