HC Deb 26 June 1995 vol 262 cc552-3
5. Mr. Dalyell

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what representations he has received in respect of damage caused to historic buildings in the care of the National Trust and the National Trust for Scotland, or otherwise regarding damage caused by the volume of visitors. [28746]

Mr. Sproat

I have received no such representations about damage caused to National Trust properties, nor about the volume of visitors, and I understand that neither has my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland received such representations in respect of historic properties managed by the National Trust for Scotland.

Mr. Dalyell

The Minister will recollect from his previous incarnation as Member of Parliament for Aberdeen, South the beautiful mediaeval castle of Craigievar, for which the National Trust had to remove signposts and cease to advertise—rightly, in my opinion—because of the structural problems caused by over-visitation. Is there not a general problem—or at least the danger—of destroying that which people come to see? In those circumstances, is any thought to be given to the financing of such properties and help to those, such as the National Trust for Scotland, who manage them?

Mr. Sproat

Help for the Scottish trust is of course a matter for the Secretary of State for Scotland. Craigievar is a magnificent castle, and I gather that the number of visitors did cause certain of the floors and ceilings to become unsafe. That has now been put right. The National Trust for Scotland no longer promotes Craigievar and, as a result, the number of visitors in the past four years has decreased from about 33,000 to about 15,000. No doubt that experience will be taken into account by all those who manage such properties.