SCOTLAND’S arts funding body gave £80,000 of public money to a closure-hit gallery to help make it “sustainable” for the next five years, it has been revealed.

Creative Scotland, which provided the lottery funds to the Gardens has said it is “very disappointed” in the Royal Botanic Garden’s (RBGE) decision to end the use of Inverleith House, on its grounds, as a gallery for contemporary art.

The funds, provided in December 2015, were for four projects, including two major exhibitions.

Read more: Petition to save Inverleith House launched as dismay over gallery closure grows

But they were also to be used to pay for a report to devise the most effective ways of continuing to present “world-class contemporary art exhibitions”.

It is unclear what the final report, by Kelly and Company, suggested, but Creative Scotland expected it to be used to support or give advice towards a “sustainable model” from 2016 to 2021.

Since 1994 the Scottish Arts Council and CS have given £1.5m in funding to the gallery. Inverleith House applied for Regular Funding from CS in its last round of decisions, but was unsuccessful.

Last night a spokeswoman said the funding body “will continue in discussion with RBGE to understand their plans within the gardens, including Inverleith House.”

Read more: Petition to save Inverleith House launched as dismay over gallery closure grows

Simon Milne, Regius Keeper of the RBGE, said of the report: "The Report was prepared by Kelly and Company and proposed a business plan that evaluated a range of options aimed at securing  self-sustained financial future for Inverleith House for the medium and long term.

"The RBGE Board carefully  considered all the recommendations of the report before reaching its decision."

The RBGE announced earlier this week it has decided to close Inverleith House as a leading gallery, a decision which was greeted with anger and dismay in the arts world.

The Scottish Contemporary Art Network said it was “terrible news” while the Art Fund said it was “sad news” to hear the end of a “beautiful space for contemporary art with an excellent programme.”

Inverleith House has been used as a gallery for 30 years.

Mr Milne said the institution can no longer afford to run the house as a gallery and it has to concentrate on their core work of horticulture and botanical studies.

The house could be used as a venue for revenue-raising functions, such as weddings and conventions, it is understood.

It is likely that the House’s current show, I Still Believe in Miracles, which celebrates 30 years of contemporary art shows at Inverleith House, from 1986 to 2016, is the last of its kind.

Read more: Petition to save Inverleith House launched as dismay over gallery closure grows

Paul Nesbitt, director of exhibitions, will be retained, Mr Milne said, and art may be shown in other areas of the gardens.

In its statement, the RBGE said: “After considerable consideration the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) has accepted that, in the interests of prioritising its core mission ‘To explore, conserve and explain the world of plants for a better future’, it must be pragmatic about the overall diversity of its wider commitments.

“As part of this, Inverleith House will no longer be dedicated to the display of contemporary art, and RBGE is looking at options for the alternative use of the building. RBGE will continue to use both the overall setting of the Garden and other existing indoor spaces to engage our visitors with art in the Garden environment. No member of staff will lose their job in the adjustment.

“The intention is very much that we intend to retain our reputation as an art venue across the board, be it for botanical art, illustration, performance, photography, sculpture and contemporary art.”