A “REDUNDANT” Peeblesshire toilet block is set to be transformed into facilities for mountain bikers.

The Tweed Valley attracts thousands of riders each year due to the reputation of its tracks and trails, which is likely to be boosted when the area hosts parts of the UCI Cycling World Championships this summer.

Plans were filed with Scottish Borders Council to convert a toilet block on Innerleithen’s Hall Street to provide a bike-wash, shower, toilet and changing facility.

And this week the bid was given the green light.

Lead planning officer Carlos Clarke said: “This application seeks consent to reuse a redundant toilet block as a bike-wash, shower, toilet and changing facility.

“The use would be managed on a not-for-profit basis by the ‘Hub Community Interest Company’, and include a bike-wash facility within the larger of two extensions that are proposed.

“The other is for the local Community Development Trust’s ‘resilience’ store.”

“The uses would not conflict with surrounding land uses in my estimation, and provide a highly accessible facility of benefit to cyclists, visitors etc.”

A spokesperson for the Hub said: “The hills and valleys around Innerleithen attract approximately 100,000 bike riders a year (not to mention runners, walkers, anglers and others) who are a mixture of day-trippers and multi-day tourists who come to ride bike trails that are now globally renowned.

“However, those world-class natural assets are not yet matched by appropriate facilities or infrastructure within the town itself, to ensure the basic requirements of those visitors and local riders are met without residents being negatively affected or inconvenienced.

“Among the most common complaints from residents and visitors alike is that there is nowhere for outdoor sports enthusiasts to get themselves clean, change their clothes, and wash their bikes after a day on the trails. Consequently, many resort to stripping off in residential streets, washing their bikes in local rivers, or going elsewhere to find those facilities – and taking their money with them.”

They added: “Not only is mountain biking here to stay in Innerleithen, if anything we can expect visitor numbers to rise further as the mountain bike world cup puts the Tweed Valley in the global spotlight again this summer and a proposed bike park takes shape over the coming years.

“These are major developments for our town and they bring significant opportunities, but we need local infrastructure to keep pace and new facilities like those proposed here are now essential.”