A HUGELY exciting bid to make a Peeblesshire site the “European capital of mountain biking” has been tabled with the council.

In February a multi-million pound deal was struck by South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE) to buy the historic Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen to move the project forward.

And now plans to develop the “world’s first” mountain bike innovation centre have been filed with Scottish Borders Council.

The development is expected to create more than 400 jobs across a 10-year period.

A report submitted by Edinburgh-based architects Oberlanders stated: “The site has key proximities to a number of world class mountain biking trails, and aims to build upon this mountain bike focused cluster providing support, promotion for growth and drive sustainable innovation.

“The scope of the project relates to development of the grade B listed Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen to provide a new mountain bike innovation centre which will provide leading expertise from academia and industry with a focus on the development of opportunities for businesses right across the mountain bike sector.

“The building will cater for a wide range of activities including bike design, testing and manufacture of bike components and accessories, food, nutrition and well-being as well as training and support facilities for elite riders.

“It will provide space to support start-up companies within the sector, as well as providing facilities for more established companies to grow and expand their business.

“The building will also provide community facilities including café and space for heritage information boards and displays.”

Both the Scottish and UK governments have backed the project, which will be funded as part of the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal.

It will mainly be a “business-to-business” facility but a café, gym, studios and small showroom spaces will be open to the public.

Once completed, it is hoped the centre will attract Scottish, UK and international firms to develop products and services, or even train athletes at the site.

After the announcement that the Caerlee Mill site had been purchased earlier this year, then-council leader Mark Rowley said: “All of the mountain biking community is behind us and it’s just going to be the most fantastic project, here, right in the heart of the Borders, in Tweeddale and Innerleithen.”

The centre is expected to pump millions into the local community once up and running.

The application to the council comes in the same week that it was revealed that Glentress Forest would be a host venue for one of the world’s biggest biking events – the UCI Cycling World Championships.