Planning application submitted for huge £13.8m Hillend Destination including 'UK's highest zipline' and Alpine coaster
The proposals will include hotel accommodation, glamping sites, food courts and cafe facilities.
People are being given a first glimpse of the plans for the new £13.8million Hillend Destination resort in Midlothian as plans are lodged with Midlothian Council.
Funding for the proposed redevelopment of Midlothian Snowsport Centre, at Hillend Country Park, was approved earlier this year by the local authority and will see the site turned into an all-weather leisure facility.
Among the plans to secure the future of the centre, which is used by local schools as an educational centre as well as a public sports venue, the proposals will include hotel accommodation, glamping sites, food courts and cafe facilities.
An alpine coaster and zipline are expected to be added to the outdoor snowsport activities, with plans to create soft play and high ropes areas inside.
If given planning approval, planning consultants brought by the applicant – Midlothian Council – believe construction could be completed by 2022.
In the application for planning permission in principle, lodged this week with the council’s planning department, the consultants say the expansion of the centre will use discreet buildings, giving rise to a low degree of landscape change.
They say: “As the Midlothian Snowsports Centre is an existing outdoor sports venue and recreation centre, it is considered to be an appropriate location for further outdoor sporting, recreation and leisure facilities.
“The proposals will improve the existing outdoor facilities on offer at the centre, which are in need of upgrading, and will also provide further facilities to the centre, increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation at the site.”
The consultants said that a public consultation event last year brought mainly supportive comments from people who attended.
Among suggestions from the public for improving the proposals were calls for Midlothian residents to be given discounted access to the new centre and a proposed hilltop restaurant.
They said: “Other operational issues such as admission prices, discounts for Midlothian residents and a proposed hilltop restaurant have been fed back to the applicant, in order for them to consider, although pricing matters are not relevant in planning terms.”
Speaking earlier in the year when plans were first announced, Councillor Derek Milligan said the project could also create 50 full time jobs and generate income for council services.
He said: "If given the go ahead, not only would the investment pay for itself , but it could generate additional income that would be invested back into council services such as education, health and social care. The project could also create 50 full time jobs.
“We think enhancing the current facilities with the highest zipwire in the UK, the longest Alpine coaster and the indoor climbing and soft play will attract families from all over the country and beyond.
“While the plans are just proposals currently, we are looking for feedback from local people to help shape our future planning application. Given the budget challenges we are facing, we also want to be certain of the solid business case behind these ambitious plans before giving the final go-ahead.”
The planning application is available online at bit.ly/34fqpiu