Looking forward at this time has never been so important and we wanted to share a positive story on some of the work still being carried out by the team over this period we all find ourselves in.
In mid 2017, we were delighted to appoint Ed Shoote as our Tweed Valley MTB Coordinator, our first regional coordinator. Ed's role was varied, wide reaching and during his time in post, the Tweed Valley has really come together resulting in some amazing success stories. There is no doubt that Tweed Valley mountain biking has gone from strength to strength and a huge amount of work has taken place in the background to support this growth.
The success of this targeted, coordinated, collaborative approach to destination development was widely acknowledged and led to demand for similar posts to be funded in both Aberdeenshire with Will Clarke’s appointment and, more recently, Ruari Watt in the Highlands.
Going forward, there are so many things to look forward to in the Tweed Valley including the return of the Enduro World Series in 2021, the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships coming to Scotland, the Tweed Valley Trails Association increasing the number of trails they maintain and improving the quality of accommodation providers and services to welcome back the thousands of riders to the area from around the world.
Since the 1st January 2020, Ed is now officially focused on the Innerleithen MTB Project to deliver an Innovation Centre and Bike park as the Senior Project Manager funded by Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Borders Council. His role involves working with the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland (MTBCOS) to coordinate a strong project team from Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Borders Council, Edinburgh Napier University, colleagues in Scottish Cycling and a large number of other stakeholders and community groups to progress this exciting opportunity.
The £19m of public funding awarded from the UK government in the Borderlands Heads of Terms in July 2019 is ring fenced for a MTB Innovation Centre and helping support the right company in the right place to deliver a bike park that importantly maintains but also adds to the existing trail network. It is a huge project and we’re grateful for all the help so far from the community and local businesses. Ed’s role is currently focused in further developing the project’s operating and delivery model and the final business cases. This involves utilising the expertise and knowledge within the project team and where there are gaps in knowledge bringing in professional services, such as architects, to help develop a robust business case.
There has been significant engagement with the local community and with local and international businesses with the current count of over 70 organisations have fed into the project as well as holding 2 public consultations with over 400 attendees. The project has been presented to industry at events across 4 countries including a highly successful cycling industry innovation summit in Innerleithen in late 2019.
The project team have been advised in the current environment to continue working as normal and despite some inevitable delays we are close to having all the information needed for the final business case submission to hopefully secure the full £19m of public funds.
We hope to be able to share some good news later this year to give the Scottish and UK cycling industry a real boost at a time when it will need it most. This will also allow the next public consultation when the time is right to ensure that the wider community remain as involved as possible.