ALMOST half of the staff at Brodick Castle could lose their jobs, it was announced last week.

The National Trust for Scotland confirmed a shake-up across the country with the Arran estate being one of the worst affected. Currently employing 51 people, the castle has recently been under redevelopment and closed to the public.

Now 22 of the staff have been told that their jobs are under threat, a move described as ‘changes to operational management arrangements by the NTS.

Cunninghame North MSP, Kenneth Gibson is hoping that the NTS perform a u-turn on the decision he calls ‘short-sighted’.

He told the Herald: “For Brodick Castle to remain the five star NTS attraction it undoubtedly will be after its refurbishment, it will need enthusiastic and motivated staff to help deliver a positive visitor experience.

“With the number of visitors to Arran increasing year on year since the huge cut in ferry fares following the introduction of Road Equivalent tariff, many of whom will be keen to visit the castle when it reopens, it seems to me to be completely the wrong time to be considering redundancies, especially among its most experienced staff.

“I urge them to consider this worrying and short-sighted decision.”

Arran councillor Timothy Billings said: “I was shocked to learn aboutthe possibility of people losing their jobs at Brodick Castle.It is essential that it has a secure financial future and any improvement in the visitor experience is welcome. I would hope that there is a way to keep as many jobs at the castle as possible.”

Stuart Maxwell, the National Trust for Scotland’s General Manager for Ayrshire & Arran said: “As many people will be aware, Brodick Castle has been closed for some time as we carry out important works to improve fire safety. This has given us time to re-think the visitor journey through the Castle and how we interpret and present it. Our intention is to invest further in what is effectively a five-star visitor attraction that better serves the unique history of the castle and its surroundings.

“We are planning a visitor experience that will be vastly different than hitherto and the new staff roles we propose will also be vastly different.

“Regrettably, this does mean that we have to put existing and long-term seasonal staff at risk of redundancy, but we need to change our approach at Brodick and hope that as many of the affected people as possible can find new roles.”