The future of a popular local visitor attraction will be discussed at a public meeting in Cardross next week.

The meeting will report on talks between the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and a local campaign group worried that the future of Geilston Gardens and House may be in doubt.

Concerns were sparked when the NTS announced last July it regarded loses of £85,000 a year at the property near Cardross as “untenable”.

As a result, the organisation announced it was to consult on the future of both the gardens and Geilston House.

However, the Friends of Geilston accused the trust of a “high-handed” attitude and launched a campaign to fight for the attraction’s future.

Now the group is to report on six meetings it has had with the NTS over the past six months.

Allison Hillis, from the group, told the Advertiser: “We now have some options to put before the friends who have supported us.

“We are hoping for a good turnout at the meeting as we seek to find ‘The Way Forward’ for Geilston.”

When the controversy broke last year, the group wrote to the NTS raising concerns not only about the way the Trust has managed the property since it was gifted to the organisation in 1991, but about the way it conducted a meeting at which staff and volunteers were told of the uncertain future which lay ahead.

Their letter criticised the Trust’s insistence that Geilston House itself would never open to the public, and says staff and volunteers were left with the impression that the consultation was “not a consultation, but a top-down, high-handed expression of what was to be”.

The group also said that while the Trust may have acted legally, and in line with the bequest of the Geilston estate to the NTS by the late Miss Elizabeth Hendry, they have not acted in the spirit of the bequest.

At the time, the NTS spokesman said: “It is perfectly understandable that the prospect of any potential change at the property will be unwelcome to people who have had such a long and much appreciated involvement with it and that they may react forcefully as a result.

“Nevertheless, we need to offer a reminder that, contrary to what is being asserted, no decisions have been made about Geilston’s future and we are disappointed if this was not crystal clear at the initial meeting.”

“While we are open to alternatives for the future of both the house and garden, these have to be considered in the context of hard reality and not wishful thinking.

“The one immoveable fact we have to confront is that the status quo at Geilston is unsustainable.”

The public meeting will take place on Tuesday April 17 at 7.30pm at Cardross Golf Club.