When Janie's job was first advertised, the chief executive of Elmbridge Borough Council was quoted as saying that the right person would have to be ‘a ranger, a plantsman, an administrator, a landscape historian and a landscape architect all in one'.
‘He forgot fundraiser - nothing happens without the money!' exclaims Janie.
Indeed, finding and maintaining adequate funding for the project was always a struggle. After a number of attempts to work with professional fundraisers, Janie decided to save a salary and take on the work herself.
A valuable source of experience and advice She believes that working with trustees to make grant and trust applications and building personal relationships with key individual donors is the way forward on restoration projects such as Painshill.
‘Conservation doesn't tug at the heartstrings. Making public appeals is a bit of a waste of time in my view,' she states. ‘There is growing interest in supporting conservation, and those organisations and individuals who give generously are, in my experience, very knowledgeable and often wish for more involvement. They can be a valuable source of experience and advice as well as funds, as I found among the Painshill donors.'
Janie's alternative strategy clearly worked, because within 20 years of the formation of the Trust, £20 million had been raised for the project.
‘In retrospect I realise how lucky we were, that we had time and we could concentrate on doing a slow, careful job,' says Janie.
Opening to the public
Securing public access to the site turned out to be one of the most difficult tasks facing the Trust. The site is bounded by the A3 to the north and the River Mole to the south and southeast, while land to the west is privately owned. Access could only be gained across fields to the east from the Portsmouth Road, with a footbridge across the Mole.
There was substantial local opposition, and the council turned down three consecutive schemes for access and car parking. The issue was only eventually resolved through planning appeals and a public inquiry, causing the project some ten years of delay and considerable cost.
Nevertheless, Janie feels that there were benefits from the delay in becoming a fully operational tourist attraction. The limited opening hours gave the restored landscape time to develop at a more natural pace, and volunteers were able to develop an excellent programme of guided tours for the limited times when the park was open.
The Trust also had time to develop an education strategy, which has stood Painshill in good stead since it became fully operational.