The devastating fire at the Old Royal Station in Ballater has left VisitScotland Information Centre staff without premises but from today (Friday 15th May), they’ll move across the road to the Cairngorms National Park Authority offices.
The CNPA is giving the organisation a temporary home as discussions begin with regards to a longer term solution.
Grant Moir, CNPA chief executive said: “The fire at the Old Royal Station is devastating for the whole community. It was an iconic building in the heart of Royal Deeside and we are shocked by what has happened. However, life and business have to continue and we are happy to make space for the Ballater VisitScotland Information Centre staff who will join a small Park Authority and Marr Area Partnership team.”
Philip Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director said: “We are immensely grateful to the Cairngorms National Park Authority staff for their generous offer of accommodation, following the devastating fire which significantly damaged the Old Royal Station in Ballater, which housed the railway museum, restaurant, shops and our VisitScotland Information Centre.
“This will mean that from today our Information Centre staff will be on hand in the CNPA offices, opposite our previous location, to provide information to visitors. The information service will be available from 2pm – 4pm today and then 10am – 5pm daily from tomorrow (Saturday 16th May). All phone calls and emails will be diverted to this temporary location.
“Unfortunately, at this time we will be unable to offer a retail, ticketing and booking service from the CNPA office, but will be signposting to the nearby Braemar Information Centre where this is required.
“With a busy week ahead of us, we are grateful not only to the CNPA, but also the local community and our partners in helping us secure this temporary location and ensuring the continuity of service for visitors to the area. We have been overwhelmed with offers of support.
“We are currently making efforts to secure items from the museum and establish a temporary home for the Royal Carriage, which appears to be intact. We will continue to work closely with our colleagues from Aberdeenshire Council and partners to establish the way forward for the Old Royal Station building in the coming weeks and months.”
The Old Royal Station is owned by Aberdeenshire Council and has been leased to VisitScotland for the last 15 years.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Economic Development, Belinda Miller said: “I would like to express our thanks to the Cairngorms National Park Authority in allowing VisitScotland staff to relocate to their offices. Such generosity in the spirit of partnership will allow the community to adjust as we consider the next steps.”
The Ballater VisitScotland Information Centre will still be one of the hubs for this weekend’s Cairngorms Nature Festival, at its temporary location within the CNPA offices in Station Square – https://cairngorms.co.uk/look-after/cairngorms-nature/festival