28th October

Dear Mr Wild,

I am the Executive Director of The Enchanted Forest in Pitlochry, one of Scotland’s major events and just one of the businesses that has been severely impacted by the works SGN and your subcontractors are currently undertaking on the A9. The Enchanted Forest is run by a Charitable Trust and is a not for profit organisation.

I am writing to you today to ask that you immediately suspend the roadworks on the A9 main trunk road in light of the significant disruption they are causing, and review your planning approach for future works. This region has been severely impacted by recent weather conditions, closing or impeding a number of alternative routes and the roadworks are simply exacerbating this, making a bad situation worse. This should have been addressed as part of your planning and risk assessment process for these works and it is patently clear it was not.

I am terribly disappointed and frustrated at the lack of planning, consultation and the severe delays our customers, team and staff are facing which are not only impacting our event but also many businesses in our community.

The Enchanted Forest has been running for 21 years and brings over 80k visitors to Pitlochry during this 5 week period making October the busiest tourism month for Pitlochry in the twelve month calendar year. This is information that is widely available and, frankly, should have been picked up by the planning team who have allegedly worked for a full twelve months on your roadworks project and decided to move it to the busiest tourism month of the year to avoid, well, peak tourist season.

I am likewise baffled that your team, subcontractor or BEAR never once reached out to us to consult on this issue either in the planning stages or certainly not now as we face hundreds of disgruntled customers every day, unable to reach us, operational disruption with our transfer buses unable to get to Pitlochry as well as team members stuck in hour long tailbacks, not to mention the impact on emergency response times.

Your team on social media and the physical information boards keep blindly churning out standard messaging that the delays are only between 20 and 30mins, but our visitors and general population in the area tell us a very different story. On Friday 27th October, for instance, our buses and staff were stuck in the traffic caused by your works for over 2 hours, with some of our visitors waiting with young starving children in some instances for over 3 hours.

They are looking for us to take action and offer them refunds for the event they couldn’t get to – at a direct cost impact to the charity that runs the event. Can you please tell me why we be paying for your teams lack of planning acumen and failures to solve problems in a timely manner? This challenge is wholly outwith our control, and is SGN’s issue to fix.

The delays SGN are causing with these roadworks on the A9 are currently impacting our excellent reputation, our vital ticketing income, on site catering and merchandise income, and are putting an additional financial strain on a charity whose sole income is generated by this annual event, is already recovering from two fallow years due to COVID, and whose primary purpose is to share its surpluses with local charities and local causes. The current situation is currently having a direct impact on us being able to fulfil that purpose.

Mr Wild, please explain to me what immediate actions you will be taking to ensure these delays don’t occur over the next 9 days whilst our event continues to run?

Please also explain to me what you propose as a solution to the thousands of visitors who bought tickets from us in good faith, expecting to attend – in fact endeavouring to attend – and who have now lost their hard earned money because they were unable to get through your organisation’s roadworks.

Please explain to me why no-one from SGN have even attempted to contact us and our team, have been forced to communicate with your organisation solely through twitter posts, most of which are being ignored?

I am available to speak to you today on [number included in original letter] and, out of courtesy, I would like a call so we can further discuss what actions you will be taking.

Yours Sincerely

Nela Popovic

The Enchanted Forest | Executive Director