Midlothian Council: Work starts on Hillend ski slope transformation near Edinburgh

Midlothian Snowsports Centre set to be transformed
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Work is underway on a new access road, car park and landscaping as part of Midlothian Council’s Destination Hillend project at the popular ski slope near Edinburgh.

Council leader Councillor Kelly Parry and the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Colin Cassidy visited the site recently to hear more about progress on transforming Midlothian Snowsports Centre into a multi-activity, year-round leisure attraction.

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Councillor Parry, SNP, said: “Seeing the bulldozers on site working on all the required civil engineering is so exciting and really brings it home that Destination Hillend is on track to be fully open by 2025.

Midlothian SNP councillors Colin Cassidy and Kelly Parry on site at Hillend.Midlothian SNP councillors Colin Cassidy and Kelly Parry on site at Hillend.
Midlothian SNP councillors Colin Cassidy and Kelly Parry on site at Hillend.

“We’re confident the breadth and quality of the activities and the unique location will increase visitor figures from around 139,000 a year to an estimated 485,000.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming people from across the UK and beyond, putting Destination Hillend firmly on the map while generating more than £1 million of income annually to spend on council services.”

Once completed, the centre will have one of the UK’s fastest zip wires, reaching speeds of up to 50 kilometres an hour. Tenders have also been invited for Scotland’s first Alpine Coaster, which could be taking its first passengers by early 2024.

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Destination Hillend will offer indoor soft play and climbing, shops and a food court, all housed in a modern, energy-efficient building, which will be fully accessible by bus. The planning application for the building has been submitted and is likely to be determined in late June. The council also plans to attract a glamping operator to the development.

Councillor Cassidy, SNP, added: “The centre is known for having the longest and fastest dry ski slope in the UK and the only one with a chairlift along with a well-used new funslope and other attractions like tubing.

“However, the building itself is no longer fit for purpose so we need to breathe new life into what has potential to be one of the most exciting leisure destinations in the UK.”

It is estimated 150 full-time equivalent jobs will be created during construction and up to 157 full-time equivalent jobs from when the facility is finished.

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A new junction will provide infrastructure for a new hotel and Pentland Bike Trail centre on neighbouring sites, while the updated road will allow coaches and buses to drop people off right outside the main entrance. Meanwhile, an expanded and improved car park will have spaces for more than 400 vehicles.