Zipline to million pound council income

Friday February 1st 2019

Destination Hillend

An impression of how the Hillend zipline will look.

Written by Phil Bowen, Editor

With two million people within a two hour drive to Hillend it is expected to become a major attraction within Scotland, not to mention a draw for visiting tourists, should the council’s plan for Destination Hillend go ahead.

This will be a major boost to the finances of Midlothian Council with so many paying customers from outside of the county. Destination Hillend is a major part of the council’s plans to improve it’s finances and tackle it’s budget deficit.

The council have not yet said how much profit they expect to make but in budget proposals last year they were predicting the new attractions would net the county £1 million a year.

The proposals for Destination Hillend include:

– Zipline (highest in UK)
– Alpine coaster (longest in UK)
– New reception building for the Snowsports Centre
– Foodcourt and function space
– Associated retail space
– Glamping tourist accommodation
– Activity dome with high ropes and soft play
– Freestyle jump slope repair and extension
– Hotel development opportunity

Around 200 people dropped in to Midlothian Snowsports Centre this week to give their views on Midlothian Council’s ambitious plans to turn it into an all-year-round, multi-activity leisure destination.

The comments will now be used to inform the business plan and any future planning applications.

Councillors are likely to decide on the proposals when a report is brought before the full Council, some time in the spring.

Destination Hillend

A similar coaster in Europe to the one planned at Hillend.

A similar Alpine Coaster in Europe attracts over a quarter of a million people each year and that is 40 miles from a major city.

The council are looking at a number of options for financing the project. The construction work would be likely planned in three phases between now and 2022, to minimise disruption to the existing facilities.

Midlothian Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for sport and leisure, Councillor Derek Milligan said:

“Many thanks to everyone who came along on the day.

“We’re delighted with the response. It was a great opportunity to explain a bit more about the proposals and get some feedback.

“With the current financial constraints, we’re very aware this investment needs to pay for itself in the future and indeed generate additional income that could be ploughed back into vital council services such as education, health and social care. It would also help secure the future of this important leisure facility.

“If we do think the business case stacks up, the enhanced facilities, with the highest zipwire in the UK, the longest Alpine coaster and the indoor high ropes and soft play will attract families from Midlothian and indeed the UK and potentially beyond. It would also help secure the centre’s future.”

The consultation was part of a pre-application notice, further details of which can be found on the Midlothian Council website’s planning portal.

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