The designer of a controversial new £88,000 wooden reception desk for the new Scottish Parliament building has turned down an offer of free oak for the project.

Designer David Colwell of Welsh furniture manufacturer Trannon rejected the Duke of Buccleuch’s offer, which may have shaved thousands off the desk’s cost, because the wood was unseasoned.

He has decided to source oak from outside Scotland because of difficulties obtaining seasoned wood in the thicknesses required. However, he has accepted the Duke’s offer of sycamore which will be steam-bent to fit the sweeping shape of the desk.

Several MSPs have criticised the high cost of the project, which is now estimated to have ballooned to £338m from the original price of £40m.