CAMPAIGNERS fighting for the future of a visitor attraction near Helensburgh have welcomed a series of key commitments made by the property’s owner.

A decision on the long-term fate of Geilston Garden in Cardross will still be made by the National Trust for Scotland, next year – but that will allow a vital few extra months to consider the garden’s future.

The Friends of Geilston met National Trust for Scotland chief executive Simon Skinner recently to discuss the future of the property after the Trust warned that losses of £85,000 a year were “unsustainable”.

But the Friends’ acting chair, Alison Hillis, says the Trust has now made a firm promise that the garden will open to the public for the 2018 visitor season next March.

The Trust has also pledged to provide details of the income and expenditure at Geilston which were not previously available.

In addition, money in a fund previously set aside for the maintenance of Geilston – which was transferred into the Trust’s general funds in its latest accounts – will now be ring-fenced until a decision is taken on the garden’s future.

Ms Hillis said: “The National Trust for Scotland are considering the options for this property. The decision will now be made in spring 2018 instead of October 2017. “Events have moved very quickly and the media campaign that we launched in June has been very successful in highlighting our concerns for Geilston.

“Thank you to everyone who took up our cause.”

The Trust has also agreed to the formation of a working group, comprising Trust representatives, members of the Friends and other parties, to develop options for the future of the property.

Ms Hillis added: “Mr Skinner’s objective was to ensure that the property at least broke even financially, which gives an idea of the problems that still lie ahead.”

An NTS spokesman said: “The Trust is listening to and engaging with a range of groups and stakeholders as we consider plans for the future of Geilston Garden and We have tried to be open and honest about the challenges we’re dealing with. This was a useful meeting and will feed into our work to find options that are in the best interests of the property, which is our priority in this process.”

An inaugural open meeting of the Friends of Geilston will be held at the Geilston Hall in Cardross on Monday, October 19 at 7.30pm and all interested members of the public are invited to attend.