Page last updated at 12:10 GMT, Friday, 19 September 2008 13:10 UK

Closed heather garden to reopen

Cherry Bank Gardens
The gardens house about 900 varieties of heather

The future of Cherrybank Gardens in Perth is set to be secured, six months after they were closed down.

The gardens house what is thought to be Europe's largest heather collection but they were shut because of low visitor numbers and lack of funding.

More than 3,000 people signed a petition calling for them to be saved.

Operators Scotland's Garden Trust (SGT) plans to transfer the running of the site to Perth and Kinross Leisure who will reopen the gardens to the public.

SGT had wanted to turn the site into a 40m national garden for Scotland.

'International significance'

Those plans had to be shelved after the lottery rejected its application for a 25m grant.

SGT felt that Cherrybank was not viable on its own, as only about 6,000 people visited last year, and decided to close the site in March.

However, garden maintenance has been going on since then in the hope they could one day open again.

Perth and Kinross Leisure has not yet set a date for the reopening but hope it will be "as soon as possible."

However, the former visitor centre at the gardens will be sold off and there are plans to turn that into offices.

Bill Moyes from Perth and Kinross Leisure said: "Everyone is aware of the significance of the heather collections, it's a collection of national and international significance.

"So the collection in itself was important, but I think equally important is just the general environs that the gardens have, it's a very important location, it's a fantastic and beautiful site, a site that I think was enjoyed by a lot of people, not only locally at that side of Perth, but I think visitors to the town and people from across the country."


SEE ALSO
Hope for garden despite closure
31 Mar 08 |  Tayside and Central
Garden lovers pledge to fight on
25 Mar 08 |  Tayside and Central
Sparks fly over garden's future
20 Mar 08 |  Tayside and Central
New site sought for 40m garden
26 Feb 08 |  Tayside and Central

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