£11.3 million tourism bid for Borders would lead to 60 new jobs

The plans include 16km of new trails at Glentress Forest
The plans include 16km of new trails at Glentress Forest

Tourism in the Borders could receive a massive boost if a new £11.3m eco-friendly development near Peebles gets the green light.

Planning applications for 56 secluded eco-cabins and 16km of new trails at Glentress Forest have now been submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

The proposed tourism development is being managed by a partnership between Forest Enterprise Scotland and Forest Holidays.

Forest Holidays will provide private sector investment of £10m with the remaining £1.3m from Forest Enterprise Scotland, which will focus on new recreation facilities.

The investment has the potential of generating an extra £1 million for the local economy each year and employment for up to 60 people.

Sallie Bailey, forest district manager for Forest Enterprise Scotland, said: “Forest tourism in the Borders is certainly in the spotlight. The recent forest tourism summit was an important first step in bringing public and private tourism interests together to seek new opportunities to grow this sector.

“Forest Enterprise Scotland is contributing to this on a number of fronts. The cabins and new trail proposals would be another great asset for the Tweed Valley and south of Scotland.

“We’d like to thank everyone who took part in our consultation drop-in events and completed our online questionnaires. The feedback was greatly appreciated and helped shape the final proposals that we put forward.”

The combined attractions are part of the award winning Glentress Masterplan project which was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance and widely consulted on for the last two years.

Under the proposals, a new mountain bike skills area will be built along with a number of new biking taster trails for all levels.

The new trails will incorporate elements of the ‘Freeride’ area, as well as a new route for walkers.

All the new trails will be situated around the Glentress Peel development at Castle Hill.

These new facilities will replace the existing skills and freeride areas at Buzzard’s nest, where the cabin development is planned to be situated.

Forest Holidays is taking forward the new eco-cabin development which would be sensitively blended into the forest’s surroundings.

A decision on the planning applications is expected in the Spring 2018.