Further changes for Sandringham Estate revealed
An illustration of what the courtyard might look like. Picture: Sandringham Estate

Representatives from Sandringham estate were on hand to provide new information and dispel rumours at a Dersingham Parish Council meeting last night (Monday 26th November) following the announcement in October that the Sandringham estate will implement parking charges in the new year.

New designs for the visitor centre, café, shop and courtyard were displayed and a few amendments to parking charges were announced:

  • A season ticket (£40) will cover two number plates per ticket for an entire year
  • Free parking has been raised from 20 minutes to 30 minutes
  • Two car charging points will be installed for electric vehicles
  • Parking charges will commence in February 2020

A refit of the gift shop and café, expansion of the central courtyard to enable more visitors and stalls, safe and well-lit pedestrian access from the car park to the visitor centre, landscaping such as the cutting of the conifer trees and planting of more varied species of trees, the conversion of the sculpture trail into an arboretum, improved signage and refitted toilets were also announced.

Improving accessibility in the county park, the car park itself will hold more disabled spaces which will be tarmacked and there will be a buggy service to bring visitors with access issues into the visitor centre. There will also be more cycle racks installed and coaches are free to park so long as they are not using the park as solely a pitstop.

The car park will be controlled by a barrier which will allow vehicles inside but will require payment on departure to be raised. The barrier recognises number plates for season ticket holders. Access to the car park will also be restricted from 7am to 9pm during the summer and 7am to 6pm in the winter.

Sancafe
Sanshop
Plans for refitting the coffee shop and gift shop were also revealed. Picture: Sandringham Estate

The prices for the car park remain the same at £3 for up to 2 hours, £5 for up to 4 hours and £7 for all day – they revealed prices were set after a survey which looked at the current dwell time of visitors.

Garry Marsden, Visitor Enterprises Manager, said:

“The car parking charges will provide funding for the maintenance of the country park and also for future developments.

“Today, people have a much higher expectation of a visitor attraction and country park and what it should offer… To a degree, Sandringham has gotten a little bit left behind and it’s important that that doesn’t continue.

“I think you can start to see deterioration in places– things you wouldn’t expect to see in a modern-day visitor attraction."

Garry also noted that it is a “competitive market” and that the estate is “running a business”, but that the money that is generated can go back into improving facilities in order to “modernise the image that we have”.

Santoilets
The plan includes improvements to the toilet facilities.
 Picture: Sandringham Estate

He adds:

“Visitors are so important not only for Sandringham but the villages surrounding it, they put bring money into the economy we want people to realise they’re arriving at a royal estate.

“£40 a year, 11p a day or 77p a week – yes it’s a contribution you have to pay, but you can already see the estate investing money into the facility that it hasn’t done for a long time.

“I say in 18 months to 2 years’ time, people will have gotten used to it, some will never, but I think the majority will. I also hope that by 2 years’ time people will turn around say ‘Look what the estate has done in this time and how much has been invested into this estate which we all enjoy’.”

Do you agree or disagree with the charges at the Sandringham estate? Email me your thoughts at sophie@townandaround.net.