Plans to create a mountain bike centre in the Borders get green light

Artist's impression of what the centre will look like. Credit: SOSE

Planning permission has been granted to turn the Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen into a Mountain Bike Innovation Centre.

Tens of thousands of mountain bike enthusiasts already flock to the area for the hundreds of trails available.

The new development will be linked up with the Tweed Valley Bike Park and Trail Lab near Innerleithen as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.

It represents an investment of £19million by the UK Government into the project.

A report says that The Innovation Centre will contribute £141m to the local economy and create over 400 jobs in the South of Scotland over ten years.

The Caerlee Mill site was bought last year with a view to its renovation.

Preparation works will now begin to ensure the site is safe and secure ahead of the start of the redevelopment beginning in the summer.

The idea behind the Innovation Centre is to allow Scottish, UK and international companies to develop innovative products and services, or even train and test athletes in the mountain biking and cycling sector.

It will also offer a place for businesses to showcase their products in one of the UK's leading mountain bike destinations.

It is also hoped that the renovation of the listed Caerlee Mill will help preserve what is deemed an important historic building as part of Scotland’s industrial heritage.

It marks the beginning of a series of events in the area as Glentress Forest will see the arrival of the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships this summer.

SOSE Chair, Professor Russel Griggs, said: “We are delighted to have secured planning permission for this hugely exciting project for Innerleithen, the Tweed Valley and the South of Scotland.

“This represents an important milestone and we can now start on-site construction works to deliver a world class innovation centre, bringing jobs, opportunity and growth to Innerleithen and the surrounding area.”  

John Lamont MP (Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk), UK Government Minister for Scotland added: "It is fantastic that the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre has received planning permission.

"The Innerleithen centre will bring jobs and investment to the region creating a world class Innovation Centre that will attract riders from across the country and beyond.

"The UK Government is supporting the project with £19million investment as part of the £265million Borderlands Growth Deal."

Caerlee Mill was originally built in 1790 and was the oldest custom-built woollen textile mill in the Scottish Borders. It began life turning sheep fleeces into wool but eventually made textiles as part of the area's large textile making industry before closing in 2010.

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