Haddo Regeneration Project
In 2005 the Haddo Country Park Consultative Forum was set up. The Forum includes stakeholder representation from Aberdeenshire Council, Haddo Estate, The National Trust for Scotland and the local community. A key objective is to develop Haddo as a high quality visitor destination encompassing the Country Park, Haddo House, Haddo Estate and the musical offering, developing common standards of customer service, shared events and activities, management and purpose. We have described this as “the Haddo experience”.
The vision is - to develop and restore Haddo Country Park into a thriving well maintained country park for people and for biodiversity, in context of its historical setting and encompassing the wishes of stakeholders whilst increasing visitor numbers and satisfaction levels.
This is reflected by the following objectives:-
- Restoration works to the designed landscape must be of high quality and in line with the original plans/features
- All works/proposals should enhance rather than detract from Haddo Country Park's high conservation and biodiversity value
- Any proposals for new development or activities must be in keeping with the high heritage value of Haddo and be of an appropriate type and scale
- Capital investment must be supported by an increased revenue budget aimed at enhancing visitor enjoyment and undertaking audience development activities
- All works/activities should contribute towards achieving high levels of visitor satisfaction and stimulating more visits, as well as broadening the park's appeal
- Community involvement should be encouraged and developed to promote local ownership
- All aspects of the regeneration of the park must be pursued through the Forum to ensure synergy and collaboration are developed as part of achieving a seamless visitor experience
- Projects/activities should aim to bring direct and indirect social, environmental and economic benefits to the area
Local communities and user groups have been important to the success of Haddo and have proved essential to the Heritage Lottery Application. Some of these groups and other interested individuals have formed the independent ‘Friends of Haddo’ organisation and will continue to support the project through that as well as arranging a programme of activities, events and projects. The Regeneration Project has two main strands, although there is obviously a degree of overlap: projects and activities that will contribute towards the restoration of the physical elements of the park and those that will enhance overall visitor/user experience.
The regeneration project contains a mix of capital and revenue projects. Capital projects will be completed within a two-year programme but many of the revenue projects/activities will be ongoing.
The main elements of the capital improvement works are:
- the conservation works to the Haddo designed landscape including restoration of monuments, structures, paths and plantings;
- a range of improvements to visitor facilities such as an improved visitor centre at the Stables Block;
- toilets and associated works at the Pheasantry;
- improvements to the main car park/arrival area;
- new adventure play area;
- new remote car park at Craigie Wood; and
- renewal of signage and furniture.
The project and development proposals were assessed and approved by Heritage Lottery Fund Parks for People programme in December 2011 with a grant of £1.1 million awarded. With other funding from LEADER, Historic Scotland Aberdeenshire Council, NTS and Haddo Estate as well as the voluntary commitment of the Friends group and others, the total project is in the order of £1.9million. The full and detailed regeneration works programme is in preparation and it is expected that work will start on site in the Autumn.
The Forum has recruited a Visitor Service Officer (VSO) who will co-ordinate elements of this project to improve the visitor experience and contribute to the long-term sustainability of the park. The VSO will be a link between the partners and park users and ensure that the project reflect the aspirations of users as well as maximising educational and recreational opportunities and in strengthening and developing existing and new audiences to the Park.
If you would like to express any hopes, views or ideas for the regeneration of Haddo Country Park you can visit the Visit Haddo website.