DOUBTS surround the future of a Peeblesshire festival that will next month become the centre of attention for the mountain biking world.

For the second year running competitors from across the globe will travel to Tweeddale to take part in one of the sport’s blue chip events, the World Enduro Series.

The renowned cycle race is the centrepiece of the two-week TweedLove cycling festival which last year provided a £1.6m boost to the local economy.

But organisers have warned that the enormous costs involved in staging the World Enduro Series may mean they will be forced to give it up.

They are calling for local businesses to help out by sponsoring the festival - and suggested hotel residents pay a supplement.

While having sympathy with the financial problems besetting TweedLove, Tweeddale councillors dismissed the idea of a bedroom tax as “unworkable”.

Event director Neil Dalgleish said: “The festival generates £1.6m for the local area but makes a loss for the organisers.

“Hosting a major international event like the Enduro World Series is a double-edged sword. On one hand it has put the area on the map as one of the world’s top mountain bike destinations, bringing thousands of visitors and international media attention, but it’s expensive to produce.

“The Enduro Series is one of the biggest growth areas for the sport - there are lots of areas would like to have it. We’ve no guarantee of keeping it here but we are all bike fans and keen to make it happen.

“We have to pay a £10,000 event fee, thousands of pounds in prizes and the logistical/organisational costs are significant. For instance just to lay on toilets at Tweed Green costs £10,000.

“We need a lot of staff but don’t have the budget to pay them so it’s a tough proposition for our small team and the amazing volunteers who make it all happen.

“The future of TweedLove cannot depend on volunteers forever, and that includes the voluntary time of the director.

“The festival cannot continue in the same format in future years without further financial support.

However, the Peeblesshire News understands that in Switzerland organisers help raise the cost of staging the World Enduro Series by inviting area tourist boards to submit a bid.

But TweedLove itself now receives no public funding. Free (or minimal cost) events are subsidised by the events that make money (i.e. Glentress Seven).

“Likewise the big Enduro World Series event is, counter-intuitively, subsidised by the smaller races. We need to change this business model.

“Events like this cannot survive without significant public or local funding. We’re appealing to local businesses to help by becoming sponsors.” He added that in other places local councils, chambers of commerce or tourist boards bid against each other to stage such events.

“The money is generally raised by a local bed tax - a supplement paid by hotel residents, usually a couple of pounds. I am wondering if this could happen here,” he said.

Scottish Borders Council has given its support to the biking festival but is unlikely to entertain a tax on hotel residents.

Tweeddale West councillor Willie Archibald said: “Any plan to tax individuals could meet with quite a bit of resistance.

“It sounds a reasonable idea but it’s almost certainly unworkable. What about people who are staying in Peebles at the time who aren’t interested in the festival? Would they be expected to pay?

“And then what about the shops, would you tax them as well? I’m not sure where it would stop.” Tweeddale East councillor Stuart Bell said: “There is no legislative framework to allow a tourist tax and if it was allowed there would be a lot of other events in the Borders claiming the money it brought in.

“The council already provides some event sponsorship but there’s not much we can do. It’s a tough call and it upsets me that this might be lost as Tweedlove is a fabulous event and an astonishing credit to the organisers.” Mr Dalgleish is still hoping that the festival will be recognised as an international event which would qualify it for a substantial increase on the current funding of £25,000 it receives from Event Scotland.

“It feels embarrassing that we are also applying for help from the Common Good Fund when it is us that should be making a contribution to them,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Dalgleish is still on the look out for volunteers for this year’s festival which begins on May 17. He needs to recruit around 150 people.

“We need people to fill every kind of role you can imagine, and a few more!” he said. “It really is true that volunteers make these event and without volunteers they simply wouldn’t happen.” For more information, email: