THE wheels are in motion for ambitious plans to create a world-class Mountain Bike Innovation Centre in Innerleithen.

The Tweed Valley is already is home some of the sport's best trails in Britain.

And now, the goal is to make the region the biking mecca of Europe by creating a bike park at the former Caerlee Mill site.

The project is still at the early stages of consultations, but if given the green light will create a unique asset for the mountain biking community, bring more visitors to the area, and house a variety of sporting activities.

Speaking of the proposals at Innerleithen Community Council, Ed Shoote from Developing Mountain Biking Scotland, said that the former mill site would be a “fantastic” location to renovate and create a community hub.

He added: “It’s very early days, but we are working towards identifying a model to create a hub for the mountain bike industry to locate here and grow in Innerleithen.

“It’s too much space for just the mountain bike innovation side of things, so we would look to create it for other indoor activities, such as erecting a climbing wall and perhaps nursery space, because it’s been flagged to us that there’s maybe a lack of childcare facilities in Innerleithen.

"Also gym space, as again this was brought to our attention as something that is needed in the area.”

He added: “It’s a really exciting project alongside looking at how we can address the lack of facilities for mountain biking in Innerleithen.

"I know there have been concerns about parking and toilet and shower facilities, so in that same pot of funding we are looking at solutions to make sure Innerleithen is well set up, with infrastructure in place to attract mountain bikers, to not only come and spend money and stay here longer, but also to relocate and work here as well.”

Developer Whiteburn was granted permission earlier this year to build 44 new houses on the Caerlee site.

But finding a use for the B- listed Brodie’s Mill building, which dates back to 1778, has still to be resolved.

Mr Shoote is hopeful the historic mill can become the hub for biking in the Borders.

He added: “Our goal is to make it the home of mountain biking from Peebles right through to Galashiels. Innerleithen sits at the heart of that which is why it is really exciting for us.

"It’s quite an ambitious plan, but it has been well received through the council. We are hoping to have consultations in the new year.”

The Peeblesshire News contacted Scottish Borders Council, who confirmed that the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre is one of a number of proposals in the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, currently subject to ongoing negotiation with the UK and Scottish Government.

A spokesperson for the local authority added: “This project seeks the creation of an exemplar research facility and workspace in the Scottish Borders to support business innovation, production, and controlled testing within the mountain bike sector.

“Alongside this it is proposed to develop a world-class bike park that will permit the real-world testing of products as well as attracting additional mountain bikers and visitors to the area.

“This proposal is focused on Innerleithen and the adjoining forest area, and potentially involves the development and refurbishment of a Listed Building.”