Main contractor announced for £19m Mountain Bike Innovation Centre build

MORRISON Construction has been appointed as the main contractor on the £19 million build of a Mountain Bike Innovation Centre in the Borders.

Plans for the build – which comes as part of a partnership between Edinburgh Napier University, South of Scotland Enterprise, and Scottish Borders Council – were approved last week.

It will see the Caerlee Mill in Innerleithen transformed into the new facility, which will offer teaching and research opportunities, as well as supporting businesses to develop innovative products and services.

The UK Government is investing £19 million into the project. This is part of its £265 million investment in the Borderlands inclusive growth deal, along with the Scottish Government investment of £85 million in the deal. The centre is predicted to contribute £141 million in gross value added and create over 400 jobs in the south of Scotland over ten years.

South of Scotland Enterprise completed the purchase of The Caerlee Mill site last year, before working with partners to secure planning permission for the change of use and building renovation.

Hub South East Scotland have been appointed as delivery partner and Morrison Construction will undertake all building works. Preparation works to ensure the site is safe and secure will take place in the coming weeks, ahead of full works beginning this summer.

Edinburgh Napier University said that the centre will allow Scottish, UK, and international companies a place to showcase their products in the heart of the UK’s leading mountain bike destination. Furthermore, it said the renovation of the listed Caerlee Mill for commercial use will help preserve an important building for the local community and for Scotland’s industrial heritage.

Professor Nick Antonopoulos, deputy vice chancellor and vice principal of research & innovation at Edinburgh Napier University, said, “We are excited by the opportunities the new centre will bring, and welcome the prospect of construction getting underway.

“This is a positive step towards a facility which will offer a strong platform for research across a wide range of academic fields – allowing us to build on the ground-breaking work already taking place at the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland.

“We look forward to continuing Edinburgh Napier University’s commitment to supporting bike innovation during what will be a significant year for cycling in Scotland.”

South of Scotland Enterprise chair, professor Russel Griggs, added, “We are delighted to have secured planning permission for this hugely exciting project for Innerleithen, the Tweed Valley and the South of Scotland.

“This represents an important milestone and we can now start on-site construction works to deliver a world class innovation centre, bringing jobs, opportunity and growth to Innerleithen and the surrounding area.”

Eileen MacKin, Hub South East’s project director, commented, “We are delighted to be involved in this innovative project which sees the renovation of Caerlee Mill, establishing it as pioneering and sector leading within the mountain biking sector, just as it once was within the textile industry.

“Achieving planning permission is a key milestone for the development and we look forward to working with our partners and contractor, Morrison Construction, to make these exciting plans a reality.”