VISITORS will be locked out of Bannockburn’s award-winning attraction until 2022 under National Trust for Scotland closure plans, The National can reveal.

Seven sites will be mothballed for around a year and a half as part of a coronavirus recovery blueprint drawn up by the heritage and culture charity.

Many other sites won’t reopen until the second quarter of 2021 as NTS plans to make 417 people – 57% of its staff – redundant.

The detail has emerged around one month after bosses promised “radical” action to cope with a projected £28 million shortfall caused by coronavirus closures.

Staff said they were “shocked” to learn of the extent of the cuts.

READ MORE: Revealed: The National Trust for Scotland sites shut until 2022

Of the potential redundancies, 158 are in the south and west region, which will be the hardest hit, with 86 others in the north east and 77 in Edinburgh and the east, where Bannockburn is situated.

NTS says it wants to re-open the battlefield and monuments “as soon as we are able”, but the visitor centre – backed by £5m in public funds – will have to stay shut.

One NTS worker, who asked not to be named during the ongoing redundancy consultation period, told The National: “Bannockburn is one of our most popular sites for schools. The complete closure until 2022 will be awful – particularly in terms of the symbolism of the site within our national psyche.

“It’s a dangerous site to close in terms of public perception and national feeling towards the Trust.”

READ MORE: Sacked worker blasts NTS for using pandemic as 'excuse' to fire him

The NTS has come under heavy fire in recent years after appointing outspoken Unionist Neil Oliver to be its president. It has faced stiff cuts during the pandemic, with Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing warning the Trust to “be responsible”.

The NTS centre at Bannockburn, which includes an interactive battle experience, is multi-award-winning and attracted 65,000 people in the first year after the completion of its big-money revamp in 2014.

But NTS predicts an operating deficit of £38,879 this year.

Seven other sites facing closure until 2022 – including Souter Johnnie’s Cottage in Kirkoswald, House of the Binns near Linlithgow and Alexander “Greek” Thomson treasure Holmwood House in Glasgow, which is currently the subject of an extensive restoration – also face deficits ranging from around £4000-£15,000.

READ MORE: ‘Radical actions’ needed to save Scottish National Trust

However, other properties expected to open earlier are also expected to land in the red.

The 24-page document was emailed to NTS staff on Friday afternoon, around the same time members to the organisation were sent a pack of printable colouring pages and information on the Holmwood House project.

Almost half of jobs at-risk – 56.6% – are visitor services assistants. Another 7% are rangers, while 3.8% are in gardening.

In the document, NTS state that even if August re-openings are possible, it will be too expensive to return to business as normal due to predicted lower visitor numbers.

The source told The National: “If you are getting rid of the staff members who are engaging with families, then how do you ever expect new members to come forward in the future? Our property is deemed unsuitable to be opened, but the people on the ground who’ve been doing the work haven’t been asked how it could work with social distancing.”

NTS said: “A number of factors will be used to make final decisions, including the need for the Trust to operate within its significantly reduced financial means, taking account of enabling safe visiting within varied property types while also ensuring essential care and maintenance can continue.

“In relation to the Bannockburn visitor centre at this stage, we anticipate re-opening the wider battlefield and monuments as soon as we are able.”