Historic Environment Scotland Properties

General Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at on 9 May 2024.

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Photo of Finlay Carson Finlay Carson Conservative

To ask the Scottish Government what percentage of Historic Environment Scotland properties remain partially closed subject to safety checks. (S6O-03418)

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Scottish National Party

The work on the properties in care is on-going. Consequently, the position is constantly changing. In order to provide the member with the most up-to-date figure on the percentage of sites that remain partially closed, I have asked Historic Environment Scotland to write to the member directly with a full response.

Photo of Finlay Carson Finlay Carson Conservative

I thank the cabinet secretary for that response. Last week, I was told that 90 per cent of Historic Environment Scotland sites have reopened fully or with partial access. We are all aware of such sites in our constituencies. Of the 30 sites in Dumfries and Galloway, five currently have no visitor access, which has a significant effect on the tourism economy.

A whistleblower in HES disputes the 90 per cent figure, claims that more than 200 sites still have serious high-level masonry issues that would pose a real threat to the public and has expressed concerns about the long-term future of the buildings. The whistleblower insists that the work is not even halfway through. Can the cabinet secretary provide evidence of where the 90 per cent figure came from and provide reassurance around public safety?

Photo of Angus Robertson Angus Robertson Scottish National Party

I hear the concern that Finlay Carson has raised. As I mentioned in my previous answer, Historic Environment Scotland will write to him directly. Should he have any further issues or concerns, I have assured him that I would welcome a follow-up discussion on the matter. We are all committed to safety at historic sites and to their speediest reopening, and having accurate information serves us all in that purpose.