PEOPLE in Helensburgh and beyond are being urged to have their say on a vision for the future of a popular visitor attraction near the town.

Geilston Garden’s long-term prospects have been shrouded in doubt ever since the Cardross attraction’s owners, the National Trust for Scotland (NTS), announced four years ago that it was “considering the future” of the property in the face of losses of £85,000 a year, which the charity said was “unsustainable”.

Now the Friends of Geilston, the independent support group set up to fight for the attraction’s future, is asking people to share their views on an idea for the future of the site – and in particular for Geilston House, the currently derelict centrepiece of the site.

Two options have been put forward for the building: the first involving opening up the house as a venue space with a cafe and space for workshops for locals and visitors, and the second using the site as a place for the public to learn about gardening, cooking, crafts and other traditional “homely” skills.

READ MORE: Future of popular Cardross visitor attraction is thrown into doubt (from 2017)

The group has received £8,000 from the Architectural Heritage Fund, £1,000 from the NTS and has donated £1,000 from its own fund to pay for a viability report on the two options, to be drawn up by an architect, quantity surveyor, structural engineer and business consultant.

Allison Hillis, chair of the Friends, said: “The Friends are keen to continue to work with the National Trust for Scotland to find a viable use for Geilston House which will enable the garden to remain open.

“The Friends envisage the NTS continuing to own and care for Geilston Garden whilst establishing a long term lease of the building to a charitable body or possibly a social enterprise, in collaboration with the Friends.

“This body could then apply for restoration grants.

READ MORE: Geilston Garden is saved for another year – but supporters voice concern at plan for 'enabling development' in grounds (from 2019)

“Discussions with the NTS have indicated that they are amenable to this arrangement.”

Details of the survey also appear in the June 2021 edition of the Friends’ newsletter, which states: “We hope that finding a viable use for Geilston House will enable the garden to remain open.

“NTS have indicated that they would continue to own and care for Geilston’s garden, if a charitable trust, which would include members from the FoG committee, would take on the house on a long term restoring lease.”

The survey is available at and at the group’s Facebook page.