Bike uplift charity hopes for land deal news soon

INNERLEITHEN campaigners hoping to create a mountain bike lift on the outskirts of the town will give an update on the project at a public meeting on Wednesday evening.

Action on the Innerleithen Mechanical Uplift (AIMUp) representatives will speak at Scottish Borders Council’s Tweeddale Area Committee and hope to know by then if Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) has given it the go-ahead to use land in Elibank and Traquair Forest for the lift and a toboggan run.

One of the charity’s directors, Ian Campbell, said: “We’re waiting on a decision that’s now with a director. We will know by mid-March at the latest. We are hopeful.”

He said the group wanted to go to funders with planning permission – gained in December last year – and control of the land on which they hope to site the 1.4km low profile, rail-mounted system to take mountain bikers up to Plora Rigg . The toboggan run will be of a similar design, without the need for towers or overhead wires, running 1.1km back down the hill.

The £5.5million project, which campaigners say could create over 100 jobs, was first talked about nearly eight years ago.

Mr Campbell said: “The main focus now is to identify sources of capital funding. We are doing a lot of preparatory work and speaking to people in government and local government, preparing the way and identifying the right people to speak to.”

He hoped local supporters would turn out for the meeting in the town’s Memorial Hall.

He said: “It’s a chance for folks to find out specifics they might like to know and it’s another way of the community showing the council how much support they have for it. If we can get a good turnout, it speaks volumes.”

The meeting starts at 7.30pm.