The upkeep of a popular Elgin tourist attraction could be badly affected if plans go ahead to sell the land next door.
The Biblical Gardens attracts visitors from each summer to marvel at the wide selection of plants, statues and floral decorations.
It is maintained by a group of volunteers and horticultural students who use the neighbouring piece of land to store their equipment in greenhouses, potting sheds, polytunnels and tool sheds.
Moray Council is looking into the possibility of selling that land so developers could build a four or five-star hotel there.
It is included in the draft version of the local authority’s local development plan for the year 2020 and could form part of the upcoming regional growth deal.
However, horticulture students and lecturers at Moray College, who use the gardens for teaching and studying, have started a campaign to keep the plot as it is now.
Sam Bright, head of curriculum at Moray College, hopes that a meeting she held with planning officials last week will persuade them to change the boundary slightly and let them keep their equipment.
She said: “It is some exciting news about the four or five star hotel that could be built in the walled garden depot but we use part of that for our equipment we use to maintain and develop the gardens.
“We met with the planning officer and his team and talked them through the effects it would have on us and hopefully they listened to us and move the boundary slightly over.
“If it goes ahead, we won’t be able to maintain the garden as well as we can as we would have to move elsewhere.”
Horticulture students tend to the site during term-time, with the Friends of the Biblical Gardens group then taking over during the summer.
Greenfingers Training Service which works with adults with learning difficulties also make extensive use of the facilities.
Ms Bright hopes that they can co-exist with the hotel and that it may be part of a brighter future for those who tend to the gardens.
She said: “We are really looking at creating an educational hub on that site as well and sort of redevelop it to make allotments to help with our cause as well, which can be done alongside the hotel.
“It was a positive meeting we had as we objected but also came up with a solution for them so we will wait for the outcome.”
The draft local development plan is still being consulted on and all objections received will be reported back to the planning and regulatory services committee.