First look at Midlothian Council’s £13.8m Hillend Destination winter sports centre redevelopment

A detailed new vision to redevelop Hillend Snowsports Centre could bring thousands of additional visitors to the area each year, and create nearly 100 new jobs, it is hoped.

By Shona Elliott
Friday, 20th August 2021, 12:30 pm

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A proposal to turn Midlothian Snowsport Centre, at Hillend Country Park, into an all-weather leisure facility received funding approval from the local authority in January 2021.

Detailed plans for the proposed redevelopment have now been drawn up by the council.

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The UK’s highest zip wire coming to Midlothian.

The centre, which is already home to the longest dry ski slope in the UK, will now feature the highest zip wire in the UK.

The family attraction will include an activity dome, hotel accommodation, a glamping site with wigwams, and shopping and food retail areas.

Soft play, high rope activity and alpine coaster will also be available and a brand new fun slope has already opened on the site.

Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for economic development Councillor Russell Imrie said: “Destination Hillend will be a major tourist destination bringing increased visitor numbers – as many as 600,000 people a year - and significant economic benefits to the local Midlothian area while generating income to be re-invested into council services.

The main building of the new family attraction will be carbon neutral.

“We’re very excited about the plans for this family attraction, which will safeguard the future of Midlothian Snowsports Centre while ensuring people in Midlothian and elsewhere can enjoy all snow sports from beginner to advanced levels.

“Taking into account the approved capital spend of £24.468 million, the Destination Hillend project is expected to cover its own costs and, when fully operational, contribute circa £718,000 per year to support other critical council services.”

The main building of the new family attraction will be carbon neutral, helping towards the council’s commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Mr Imrie said: “The agreement to build a net carbon zero main building is also a key milestone in our Climate Change Strategy helping us towards our commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.”

From L2R at Hillend at the new funslope are: Hillend Duty Officer Mike Ronald, Cabinet Member for Economic Development Councillor Russell Imrie, and Project Managers Paul Campbell and Andrew Souter.

Damhead Community Council initially objected to the redevelopment, citing concerns over the traffic impact on the access route via the A702. However the council has assured objectors that the project will take into account it’s impact on traffic levels.

Mr Imrie said: “Work on improving the access road and the A702 junction is scheduled for spring 2022.”

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