Community goes ape for new jobs

Published: 1 May 2012 09:110 comments

A NUMBER of new jobs could be created in the Borders after one of the country's biggest forest adventure companies announced plans to branch out.

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Go Ape has submitted plans to Scottish Borders Council to construct a series of high-wire thrill rides and equipment at the popular Glentress visitor centre, near Peebles.

It wants to erect zip slides, tarzan swings, tightrope walks, scramble nets and Tibetan bridges amongst the tree canopy next to the Red Squirrel car park.

The bid has already won support from Forestry Commission Scotland, and it is expected the development will attract even more tourists to, what is already, the Borders biggest attraction.

Welcoming the plans, Brian McCrow, vice-chairman of Innerleithen and District Community Council, told the Border Telegraph: "It's fantastic news.

"My son was at the Go Ape park in Perthshire at the weekend and I know he really enjoyed himself. If they can create something like that in Glentress it will be great for the whole development of the Tweed Valley."

And he added: "It is also another source of local employment which is sadly needed in local area with the demise of local mill industry."

It is hoped the plans for the forest adventure park will help further cement the area's reputation as one of the best destinations for outdoor enthusiasts in the UK.

The area, in which many businesses rely on the local trade in tourism to survive, already has some of the best mountain bike trails in the world. And, earlier this year, plans were submitted to install a dedicated mountain bike chairlift and toboggan run near Traquair.

A new walkway, which doubles as a cyclepath, has also been created between Peebles and Innerleithen to help local businesses capitalise on the boost in tourism.

It followed a recent report which revealed the developments could help attract an extra 100,000 visitors to the area each year and help bring an annual income of more than £6million into the region's economy.

Mr McCrow, who is also secretary of AIMUP (Action for the Innerleithen Mechanical Uplift) group, said: "These are exciting times." And he added: "This latest proposal from Go Ape fits in with other local developments and can only help us attract more visitors to the area."

The full application for the forest adventure park, which also includes a new reception and storage building, will be considered by Scottish Borders Council over the next few months.

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