This is an open letter to the Chief Executive of the National Trust to express the disappointment of all the loyal customers of the Farm Shop ‘Samphire’ of Blickling Hall, Norfolk. Samphire is being closed due to their lease not being renewed by the National Trust. Please leave a comment on this blog entry so we can gather support to demonstrate to the National Trust that Samphire must stay open or be rehoused.
Dear Dame Fiona Reynolds,
As a member of the National Trust I feel it necessary to write an open letter in support of the tenant shop Samphire of Blickling Hall, Norfolk. This letter will enable all Samphire devotees to express their thoughts about the impending closure of this delightful shop.
My question to you is this: How can you let us fall in love with Samphire, give it the beautiful surroundings of Blickling Hall, make it a must for people near and far and then take it away? This is like cold turkey – is there no place for Samphire elsewhere at Blickling Hall? What have we, the National Trust members, done wrong? I am unhappy and disappointed.
Without Samphire Blickling becomes just another National Trust property, with the same corporate feel that the National Trust is beginning to have wherever you go; for some, every property seems to have the same cafe, the same shop, the same produce and the same welcome area. As a National Trust member I visit properties regularly and Samphire made Blickling different.
It is ironic that earlier this year I had considered writing to you to commend Samphire and request more local shops at other properties as at Blickling. Now, instead, I’m writing this letter begging you to reconsider the decision to take away this gem, and the reason many people visit Blickling so regularly.
As a young Mum whenever I visit Blickling Hall I eat a picnic in the garden. My son plays on the climbing frame with other children, while I chat to other parents. Whenever I visit I always meet others who come to have food from Samphire and to eat it in the Blickling grounds. How can we picnic now? I suppose we’ll have to make some sad sandwiches and remember the good times visiting Samphire and enjoying their exquisite produce.
National Trust, I understand you must redevelop your entrance area and I encourage this. However, please do not deprive us – find it in your hearts to rehouse Samphire somewhere else on the estate. You really will do more damage than you realise if Samphire is gone for good.
The National Trust seems to promote relations with the local community and to provide local produce, so why does it seem that every property is becoming the same – please do something before it is too late! In return there are so many of us who will stay as loyal to Blickling Hall as ever.
I ask three questions:
- What is Blickling Hall currently doing to support local business and local people?
What procedures are in place to take account of the views of local people, and National Trust members, when making decision regarding longstanding tenants?
Can another place be found on the estate to house Samphire?
I look forward to your response.