Furious gardeners have slammed the National Trust for introducing sky-high parking charges at Wakehurst Place gardens – with some vowing to boycott the popular visitor attraction.

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Visitors vented their anger on review site TripAdvisor after Wakehurst Place, Kew’s country garden in West Sussex introduced a parking charge in April of £2 for the first hour, £5 for two hours or £10 per day for National Trust members, who get free entry to Wakehurst (pictured).

“This has all the makings of a PR disaster,” wrote Paul from Surrey. “We have not visited since these draconian parking charges were introduced; nor will we until management see sense. We’re making more use of Wisley, which feels busier.”

Philip from Brighton described the charges as “economic suicide,” “misguided” and a “disaster for Kew”. And Maz from East Grinstead fumed: “Greed and stupidity shown by Wakehurst will be their undoing.”

National Trust members represent 80 per cent of visitors to Wakehurst, which leaves Kew with a deficit of £1.4million a year.

But Anthony from Edenbridge wrote on TripAdvisor: “How long will it take for Sir Simon Jenkins (National Trust chairman) and Marcus Agius (chair of Kew) to realise what a dreadful, short-sighted decision they have made, acknowledge their mistake and remove these charges?”

One reviewer posting under the name Achowb wrote: “There were angry scenes this morning. I feel sorry for staff who have been put in this position. I’ve been ripped off by the National Trust but I guess it’s drinks all round in the boardroom.”

User Eabjr added: “We are cancelling our National Trust membership to show how strongly we feel about this.”

In a joint statement, Sir Simon Jenkins, National Trust chair and Marcus Agius, chair of Kew, said: “The net cost to Kew of running Wakehurst Place is such that we have reached a point where greater income is needed if we are to continue our outstanding horticultural standards.

“The best way to raise this income is through car parking charges,” they argued.

 

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