Galloway MSP Alex Fergusson has hit out at the Scottish Government for allowing Shambellie House at New Abbey to fall into disrepair after Museum Scotland’s decision to give up responsibility for the National Museum of Costume that was housed there.
After being contacted by concerned constituents, Mr Fergusson said: “When Museum Scotland walked away from Shambellie, we were promised a ‘new offering for Dumfries and Galloway’ by the Scottish Government. So far, it would appear that that ‘new offering’ consists of neglecting the grounds and external upkeep of Shambellie to the extent that the grounds – formerly maintained to the highest degree – are now just a neglected shambles. This is simply not good enough.
“Furthermore, the Prince’s Regeneration Trust was commissioned by the Scottish Government to produce a report on the future of Shambellie by last November. This was then delayed until the spring, and my understanding is that the report has been sitting with the Scottish Government since February. That is not good enough either.
“I have therefore contacted the Cabinet Secretary for Culture and asked her when the report will be published and also when her Government will undertake its duty to maintain Shambellie House and grounds to their previously high standards until the future of this lovely property is determined.”
In February 2013, National Museums Scotland said it was ‘simply not sustainable’ took keep Shambellie open as it cost £220,000 a year to run and attracted just 10,000 visitors a year, less than one per cent of the total number of visitors to Scotland’s five national museums. Time was called after a reduction in public funding to National Museums Scotland due to the recession meant Shambellie’s low visitor numbers and high operational costs made it uneconomic to keep open.