SUPPORTERS of Geilston Garden in Cardross are due to address MSPs this week as they aim to step up their campaign to secure the facility’s long-term future.

Members of the Friends of Geilston are expected to appear at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee on Thursday morning.

As reported by the Advertiser earlier this month, the Friends have lodged a petition at Holyrood calling on the Scottish Government to meet the garden’s owner, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) “to discuss its position in relation to closure of NTS properties and the effect these closures have for local communities and for the wider tourism appeal of Scotland”.

READ MORE: Geilston Garden petition is lodged at Holyrood

The NTS announced in 2017 that it was “considering the future” of Geilston in the light of visitor numbers which it described as “unsustainable”.

Ahead of Thursday’s meeting of the petitions committee, a spokeswoman for the Friends said: “A UK Parliamentary select committee is currently holding an enquiry into how gardens contribute to tourism, the creative economy and national heritage of the UK.

“The committee is gathering information and the points under consideration are the role of gardens in tourism, how to help gardens best attract more visitors, and how gardens and historic landscapes can support local communities.

“A similar initiative would contribute to meeting the National Tourism Strategy objectives, through the gardens of Scotland such as the NTS Geilston Garden at Cardross.

“Whilst the Friends have a particular focus on Geilston Gardens, we are also acutely aware that other gardens are vulnerable, often due to lack of investment and promotion, and may not have the support of an active Friends group, and we are keen to help ensure that their situation is protected.”

READ MORE: Crunch time for Geilston as garden's future to be made clear

The petition closed on Monday, June 10, by which time it had attracted more than 400 signatures and 57 comments from members of the public, both in Helensburgh and Lomond and across Scotland.

The area’s MSP, Jackie Baillie, is also expected to speak at Thursday’s meeting in support of the Friends’ petition.

Ms Baillie said: “Geilston Garden is a much loved local asset for Cardross and the surrounding communities, as well as attracting visitors from all over Scotland and beyond.

“I am delighted that the petition from the Friends of Geilston Garden will be considered by the public petitions committee.

“The issue appears to be much wider than Geilston and the decisions, which are being taken by the National Trust for Scotland, could have an adverse impact on many much-loved NTS assets across the country.

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“NTS properties play an important role in attracting tourism to Scotland. I hope that the committee will recommend that the Scottish Government take an active interest.

“I am very pleased to support the retention of Geilston Gardens and the work of the Friends.

“This is a national asset that we simply can’t lose.”