STAFF morale at Longleat Safari and Adventure Park was rocky during the recent period of uncertainty after the resignation of David Bradley, according to Bob Montgomery, its new chief executive.

Mr Montgomery is targetting better communication between Longleat Estates, the family and staff, as one of his top priorities, as well as investing in staff and giving them more opportunities to develop.

He said Longleat had experienced more staff turnover than he would want and that there would be a renewed focus from the park to work more closely with employees and listen to what they have to say.

The chief executive, who previously worked as general manager at the Herschend Family Enter- tainment owned Wild Adventures in America, is currently meeting staff in small groups.

Mr Montgomery said: “The surprise for me is that in spite of not always having the right focus on staff welfare and development in the past, staff are really committed to being here and they like it here.

“Even with all the issues of change – and there’s no question that was a factor in terms of their morale and their focus – what’s been really assuring and tells us we have good people is that they really want to be here.

“They want to do the right thing and they want to know that we’re doing the right thing. People have been very welcoming, but they make it clear that they don’t want someone in here taking care of their own best interests.

“Morale was a little bit rocky and I think in part that was because it took so long for me to come.

“I’d been around, but there was this period of uncertainty and that’s not good for any organisation. I think we’re over the worst of that now.”

Mr Montgomery added that while there had been a fantastic amount of investment at Longleat during the past three years, the park needed to ensure that the right cost controls were in place.

He said: “I wouldn’t say the park has expanded too quickly. We are at a time when we have to take stock.

“The pace was very, very fast for three years and we need to, not pause, but validate what we have done.

“We have to double back and ensure the strength of the team and our ability to maintain what we built in is in place to keep quality at that right level.”