THE company at the centre of ambitious plans for Glentress has been sold.

But bosses at Forest Holidays have made assurances that plans for the expansion will continue.

The firm submitted an application last month for the creation of 56 eco cabins near the mountain biking centre outside Peebles.

The £11.3 million plans in conjunction with Forest Enterprise Scotland, which also include the creation of 16 kilometres of new trails, have been warmly welcomed by outdoor enthusiasts and tourism officials.

This week the company, which already runs nine cabin sites across the UK, was sold to a private equity firm.

The sale to Phoenix Equity Partners is valued at around £110 million.

Bruce McKendrick, chief executive of Forest Holidays, said that the current cabin sites enjoyed year-round occupancy of 90 per cent, helped partly by the boost to the staycation trend from the weak pound.

He added that he believed that the group could continue growing its earnings at the current rate for the next decade and beyond on the back of continuing expansion.

Mr McKendrick said: “The commission has one million hectares of forest in Great Britain so we’ve got plenty to keep us going for many years to come.”

Phoenix Equity Partners, which also owns the caravan park operator Bridge Leisure, has acquired a controlling stake in Forest Holidays, estimated at just over 50 per cent, with the rest being held by the Forestry Commission, the management and LDC, its existing private equity backer.

Since LDC, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, made its initial investment in 2012 turnover has increased from £12 million to £37 million and underlying earnings have jumped tenfold to more than £10 million.

Forest Holidays, which also attracted bid interest from Center Parcs and Caledonia Investments, traces its origins to 1973, when the Forestry Commission built some cabins next to Loch Lubnaig, at Strathtyre.

Today, it runs 571 cabins across the nine sites on land leased from the commission under 125-year leases.