Funding for Hillend plans agreed

Zipline proposed for Hillend Ski Centre by Midlothian Council. This is just a CGI illustration of how it might look.
Zipline proposed for Hillend Ski Centre by Midlothian Council. This is just a CGI illustration of how it might look.
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Councillors have agreed to invest £13.8 million of capital funding into developing Midlothian Snowsports Centre into an all-year-round, multi-activity leisure facility.

It is hoped this investment should generate income for the council to partially offset the impact of continued restraints on public sector funding.

At the full council meeting last week, councillors approved a number of recommendations including the cash injection, phased over three financial years between 2019 and 2022.

Destination Hillend may include, subject to any necessary planning consents and other agreements and permissions: the highest zipline in the UK, the longest alpine coaster in the UK; a new reception building for the Snowsports Centre; foodcourt and function space; associated retail space; glamping tourist accommodation; an activity dome with high ropes and soft play; funslope upgrade and extension; and a hotel development opportunity.

As well as approving the funding from the General Services Capital Plan, councillors agreed to market and sell the site earmarked for a hotel.

Detailed planning, delivery and procurement of the project will now get underway, and further reports will be brought back to council to update councillors on progress.

The approval comes after a public consultation. More than 200 people attended a public event in January to give their views, the majority of which were in favour of the scheme.

Destination Hillend has the potential to create more than 30 new full-time equivalent jobs with the council and a further 50 permanent third party jobs, including serving the foodcourt kiosks, retail unit and hotel.