Momentum gathers for new world-class bike park and innovation centre in Innerleithen

Edinburgh Napier partner in project that could turn Borders into the European capital of mountain biking

Date posted

15 January 2019

09:55

Views are being sought to help move forward an exciting project for the development of Europe’s only mountain bike innovation centre located alongside a world class bike park in the Tweed Valley.  Visual of new Mountain Bike Centre at Innerleithen
 
A public consultation will be held on 24 January at 7pm in the Innerleithen Memorial Hall, Leithen Road, Innerleithen.

During the evening, Select Contracts, leading consultants in the leisure and adventure industry and award-winning Scottish architects, Oberlanders, will present and capture the communities’ views on the bike park, whilst innovation experts, Urban Foresight, will be consulting on the innovation centre. This research is being funded by Scottish Enterprise.
 
Following on from a community meeting held in 2017, plans have been progressing towards a vision of how the Tweed Valley and, in particular, Innerleithen, can capitalise further on the growing popularity of the sport. These plans consider sustainable solutions to improve visitor facilities, maintain the trail network and create more local jobs.  
 
An initial business case for the project is one of a number of proposals in the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal proposition that is currently subject to ongoing negotiation with the UK and Scottish governments. The outline business case has been progressed by Developing Mountain Biking in Scotland (DMBinS), a partnership project hosted in Scottish Cycling, Edinburgh Napier University, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Borders Council. This group have been consulting and working with local businesses, national agencies and international bike brands to develop the proposals 
 
DMBinS regional mountain bike co-ordinator, Ed Shoote, said: “The Tweed Valley is already home to some of the best mountain bike riding in the UK and every year its reputation grows. We believe this proposal promotes the area to become the European Capital of Mountain Biking. 

“Following the previous community meeting the message was clear that Innerleithen had fantastic potential to offer a wider range of trails to compliment Glentress – from jump trails to fun family-orientated bike park trails. Whilst the plans are progressing with a good deal of political support, we need to ensure the local community is on board with the ideas and will support the proposals.” 
 
The innovation centre will contain unique facilities that companies have requested including cutting-edge prototyping equipment. The centre will form part of a wider community hub. Early plans for the innovation hub building include additional space provisions for childcare, indoor activities like a climbing wall, additional café space for local businesses to grow into and flexible short-term office space. 

Lead academic from the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland, Professor Geraint Florida-James added: “Crucially, the plans not only promote growth in tourism but maximise the impact of the sport for the local community and businesses by creating new jobs and specialist facilities. It builds on the success of Edinburgh Napier University’s Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland project at Glentress, which to date, has engaged with over 200 businesses.” 

Select Contracts CEO, Chris Sutton, who will be in attendance at the meeting said: “We were extremely pleased to be appointed as consultants for this downhill bike park project. We see Innerleithen as one of the best locations for a bike park in the UK and Europe. We are looking forward to sharing our work on this project to-date and getting local community feedback.”
 
The feedback from this consultation meeting will contribute towards a full business case, which will be developed by both organisations of expert consultants, Select Contracts and Urban Foresight. This will be used to help progress the funding application process under public sector programmes including the Borderlands Growth Deal, alongside helping to attract potential private investors.