Final business case approved for Destination Hillend

Detailed plans are now being drawn up for an all-year-round, multi-activity leisure facility at Midlothian Snowsports Centre after a final business case was approved by councillors.

Image courtesy of Midlothian Council

Centred around a new carbon neutral main building, the Destination Hillend project will offer:

  • A new zip line 
  • A new Alpine Coaster 
  • A new glamping complex
  • New fun slope (completed already) 
  • Upgraded and modern facilities with enhanced snowsports storage
  • A new café with full kitchen and ‘back of house’ provision
  • Fine dining
  • Outdoor seating
  • A retail unit
  • Increased car parking capacity (425 spaces)
  • An improved public road junction
  • A new soft play area
  • A new high rope activity
  • Enhanced and flexibe children’s party rooms
  • A new function suite

The project is expected to create between 55 and 80 full-time equivalent jobs directly with a further 11-16 full-time equivalent jobs supported indirectly by the facility annually.

(from left) Hillend duty officer Mike Ronald, Councillor Russell Imrie, and project managers Paul Campbell and Andrew Souter

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.

“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 snowsports from beginner to advanced levels.

“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.” 

Image copyright Smith Scott Mullan Associates

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.

A new fun slope has already opened at the site and work on improving the access road and the A702 junction is scheduled for spring 2022. The new car park is also due to start in spring of next year.

A full design team led by Smith Scott Mullan Associates as architect and Hardies as project manager was appointed to the project in spring 2020.

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