A GROUP campaigning for one of Helensburgh’s most loved community woodlands has slammed what it feels is a lack of transparency from the council over its closure.

Matt Offord, chairman of the Friends of Duchess Wood, made the claims after the upper Burgh facility reopened this month having been closed since June.

The findings of a report into tree safety by TD Trees led Argyll and Bute Council to make the decision to officially close the wood, although many claim they have used it.

READ MORE: Duchess Wood reopens to public after eight-month 'safety' closure

Mr Offord made the criticism ahead of a meeting of the wood’s local nature reserve committee, the first since the wood’s reopening, on Tuesday, February 25.

He said: “My view is that council handling of the situation in Duchess Wood has failed to demonstrate transparency or a systematic approach to hazards.

“Communication has been very poor, the reaction to the initial survey was over-zealous in closing the wood, and yet lacklustre in dealing with the hazard, which has taken seven months to achieve.

“Warning signs and communication with the public have been non-existent. 

READ MORE: Council closes Duchess Wood over tree 'safety concerns'

"I have been very disappointed and at times, confused by Argyll and Bute Council decision making.”

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “We reacted swiftly to the report, taking immediate action to restrict access and protect public safety.

“In the current climate of ongoing cuts to our budgets, we did everything we could to identify potential funding options to allow the required work to be carried out. It is now open for people to enjoy.”

The next meeting of the wood's management committee is due to be held in Helensburgh on Tuesday, February 25.

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