£19 million to go to Scottish Innovation Centre and mountain biking mecca

Terms have been agreed between the Scottish and UK Government to see a proposed £19 million investment in a new mountain biking ‘Innovation Centre’ for Scotland.

First revealed in summer by MTBCOS, the confirmation of funding on the Innerleithen development is another string to Scotland’s cycle tourism bow, which, by a conservative estimate, is worth north of £100 million to its economy for road cycling alone.

Detailed at the recent Scottish MTB Innovation Summit, we now know that £13 million will be attributed to the construction of the MTB Innovation Centre Building and £6 million will foot the bill for construction of a bike park. The investment forms part of a wider £394.5 Borderlands Growth Deal.

For UK-based mountain biking businesses the news will be especially welcomed, not only for the creation of new places to ride, but for the many fold uses of the proposed facility; including the ability to place prototypes in an ‘incubator’ where they will benefit from academic insight from the Edinburgh Napier and Strathclyde Universities, as well as test facilities. Opportunities for small scale manufacturing have also been touted.

It is expected that, subject to scrutiny of the business and demand cases, that the project could complete in 2023. It is that scrutiny that remains the only obstacle to the project gaining the full funding pot, something which MTBCoS are now rallying the industry to demonstrate.

A document pitched to potential users is now circulating that declares non-binding support for the project and those in the bike industry are invited to pitch in their thoughts by completing and emailing to MTBCoS administrator Dawn Johnstone.

Speaking back in July Scottish Secretary David Mundell said: “The Borderlands Deal has made huge progress in the last 18 months. I’d like to thank the five local authorities who have worked so well together, along with the UK and Scottish governments, to achieve this.

“This is an ambitious approach to cross-border working which will boost economic growth by helping existing businesses, encouraging new ventures and bringing a wealth of improvements to people who live and work in the area and to visitors.”