Over 100 workers furloughed across Lulworth Estate

Over 100 workers furloughed across Lulworth Estate

Published by George Sharpe at 1:31pm 23rd April 2020. (Updated at 1:34pm 23rd April 2020)

Lulworth Estate say they've had to furlough 140 workers due to the coronavirus lockdown.

While they'd normally expect over a million visitors a year, the Estate has now closed landmarks like Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove.

The estate spans 12,000 acres (20sq miles) including 5 miles of World Heritage Jurassic Coast. 

Owner of the estate, James Weld says their priority is their staff:

"Over a period of two weeks we experienced more and more of our businesses being closed at each new announcement by the Prime Minister, until on 23rd March, our total tourist operation ceased with the need to furlough over 140 staff.

"Our revenue has suddenly dropped by 90% which has required us to curtail all but essential expenditure. 

"We are now operating with a skeleton staff of about 20 people, maintaining our properties and preparing as much as we are able for the re-opening of our sites."

Many of their staff are also residential workers, putting additional importance on being able to maintain their wages.

Around 30 seasonal workers would also be employed at this time of year, but they won't be needed now.

What about weddings?

The Estate's ordinary holiday and wedding business won't be able to run as usual. 

Weddings; enegagement

James said:

"It's distressing for people who are trying to come on holiday or even more so those who have booked their weddings.

"We've now looked at rearranging dates right up to the middle of June because obviously there's quite a lot of logistics involved in holding a wedding.

"We need to find new dates for our brides and grooms, which we've largely managed to do but obviously if the restrictions are extended through the summer, that's going to become more and more difficult."

But, James added they will 'fight' the challenges ahead and look forward to a time when they re-open.

"Arguably the "fight" to stay in business might be more acute; I do not wish to be the generation that failed the estate and its heritage, the community and our longevity, being the eleventh generation to own and manage Lulworth, whatever the excuse might be.

"In my view, the primary driver is to look after our staff, keeping them employed and to be able to keep paying them; as a community based on the estate, all our staff, from the owner to the newly started worker who has just left school, contribute to its success.

"It is vital that we keep that community together, continue living and working together, continue to support each other, even more than usual in such a situation.

"We would hope that, notwithstanding the current difficulties being experienced with people not avoiding others and continuing to enjoy the outdoors, that being a primarily outdoor destination, Lulworth will be one of the first to begin opening again when we are allowed to do so.