A great controversy has opened up locally with the news this week that Trentham Gardens are to charge visitors to walk around the lake. Up until now this area of the estate has been free and, as you will know from many posts throughout this blog, we have walked there often, sometimes a couple of times a week, but from March this will no longer be possible.
The people who own and run the estate have decided that the lakeside will become part of the Italian Gardens area and therefore offer the people paying to visit the gardens more for their money. I suppose I can see the logic of this but where does that leave all the other visitors? The people like us who go there to have a walk followed by a coffee at one of the numerous cafes and perhaps occasionally do a bit of shopping in the retail village? If we can't walk around the lake then we won't be using the shops and cafes, therefore they will lose money, too. How is this going to help encourage visitors if half the retail outlets have to close due to lack of customers? Am I missing something here?
I know we shouldn't take access to these beauty spots for granted and that the amounts needed for upkeep must be huge but surely a small parking charge and donation boxes would be better than taking away from people something that has been available for so long.
I expect that most visitors will be like us and visit once or twice a week for exercise and recreation and I'm afraid that around £5 per person for every visit during this economic downturn will just be prohibitive. For us that would be £20 per week which is just not possible as paying the mortgage and household bills has to come first so our visits will therefore drop from once or twice a week to once or, if possible, twice a year.
What a great shame!