CAMPAIGNERS fighting for the future of Geilston Garden in Cardross say they feel heartened after getting the chance to put their case to MSPs.

A petition by John Hanks from the Friends of Geilston was considered by the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee last week, whose members heard from constituency MSP Jackie Baillie and her West of Scotland colleague, Helensburgh resident Maurice Corry, about the importance of the garden, both to Cardross and to the wider Helensburgh and Lomond community.

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Both had some harsh words for the garden’s owner, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), with Mr Corry stating he was “very concerned” at the Trust’s “heavy-hammer approach” to the garden.

Ms Baillie, meanwhile, pointed out that the Trust’s significant investment in the Hill House in Helensburgh created a “natural linkage” for NTS members to see both attractions on a single visit to the area.

She called the Trust’s decision in 2017 to review the garden’s future, and transfer money from an endowment set up by the garden’s former owner, Elizabeth Hendry, to the general NTS funds, “incredibly short-sighted”.

Following the committee’s meeting, Allison Hillis, the chair of the Friends of Geilston, said: “The petition received more than 400 signatures and 57 comments.

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“We are grateful to Jackie Baillie and Maurice Cory for representing us so well in front of the petition’s committee, who were sympathetic to the petition and will be writing to the NTS, Scottish Government, digital, culture, media and sport committee, the Scottish Tourism Alliance and Visit Scotland.

“As far as we know the NTS are shortly to decide on Geilston’s future and we hope that the support which Geilston has received from countless individuals and organisations, including the Scottish Parliament, will persuade the Trust to seize the opportunity which Geilston presents to create a wonderful visitor attraction in the west of Scotland.”