Midlothian Snowsports Centre: Plans to build new two-storey snow sports centre outside Edinburgh near Pentland Hills approved

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The project will see Midlothian Snowsports Centre redeveloped into a major multi-activity leisure, retail and tourist attraction

Midlothian council has approved plans for a new multi-activity national leisure destination near the Pentland Hills.

Destination Hillend will replace the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, with the two-storey building including accommodation, ski-hire, climbing facilities, a soft play, dining and retail space. Built into the hillside, the building negotiates the steep topography, allowing visitors to move from access road level to the base of the ski slopes and other hillside activities, which include a zipline, an alpine coaster and tubing.

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Edinburgh-based architects behind the project, Smith Scott Mullan Associates, say the new building is inspired by its surrounding landscape, with the roof of the building incorporating a mix of slopes and raised sections, and wrapped in a green sedum blanket to enhance site biodiversity and embed the leisure facility into the hillside.

Destination Hillend will replace the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, with the two-storey building including accommodation, ski-hire, climbing facilities, a soft play, dining and retail. Picture: Smith Scott Mullan AssociatesDestination Hillend will replace the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, with the two-storey building including accommodation, ski-hire, climbing facilities, a soft play, dining and retail. Picture: Smith Scott Mullan Associates
Destination Hillend will replace the Midlothian Snowsports Centre, with the two-storey building including accommodation, ski-hire, climbing facilities, a soft play, dining and retail. Picture: Smith Scott Mullan Associates

Ben Rainger, architect at Smith Scott Mullan Associates, said: “We are delighted to have been granted planning approval for the new Snowsports Centre at Hillend. It is the result of a collaborative journey with Midlothian Council and design team to develop a design that responds to the unique site and complex brief. We are very happy with the design and look forward to moving forward to the next stage.”

A spokesperson for the Midlothian Council project team, said: “We’re hugely excited for this project that is providing a new outdoor activity centre in Midlothian. Getting planning approval for the main building reflects the hard work of the team and marks a significant milestone in the delivery of this project. We look forward to the works progressing in the near future.”

Designed to harmonise with the natural terrain and preserve the existing character of the wider area, the building will be clad in red terracotta tiles - referencing the terracotta roof tiles of historic agricultural buildings found across the Lothians. The multi-activity leisure destination will also encompass glazed bricks to form a pattern that abstractly echoes the local hillside, using greens, yellows and purples to represent the hillside grasses, gorse flowers and heather respectively with the architect’s ambition to give the building a sense of permanence.

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The development is targeting net zero in terms of operational carbon, using a fabric-first approach, and will utilise renewables for operational energy. Smith Scott Mullan Associates are now progressing technical design information for the new landmark building.

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