South of Scotland Enterprise has agreed a deal to purchase Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen to create a home for the new Mountain Bike Innovation Centre.
Two new staff will deliver practical trail maintenance session and skills training courses for young people in cycling and trail building, as well as supporting businesses to capitalise on opportunities such as cycle-friendly accommodation grants and tourism packages.
The project will get £19 million from UK Government as part of the Borderlands Growth Deal.
The Innovation Centre will allow Scottish, UK and international companies to develop innovative products and services, or even train and test athletes within the mountain biking and cycling sector. It will also offer a place for businesses to showcase their products in the heart of the UK’s leading mountain bike destination.
The second element of the project will see Tweed Valley Bike Park and Trail Lab created in what is thought to be a global first in terms of combining tourism and innovation. The adventure bike park will attract and sustainably manage visitors to the Scottish Borders.
Councillor Mark Rowley, leader of Scottish Borders Council and Borderlands Partnership board member, said: “The purchase of Caerlee Mill for the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre is an important milestone. It means we can now move ahead with our exciting plans to build on the already well-established reputation of the Tweed Valley as one of the world’s top mountain biking destinations."
UK Government minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart, said: “Many people visit the region every year for its stunning scenery, rich history and wealth of outdoor activities. The UK Government are investing £265 million through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal to build on these strengths, improve connectivity and create jobs and growth.”
The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was signed in March last year, bringing in up to £452m of investment.