TRAIL campaigners are expecting to fork out around £2million to build mountain-biking tracks in Galashiels.

Earlier this year, funding was secured to kickstart the project and begin drawing up plans.

And at a special meeting at the Focus Centre recently, designer Pete Laing held a presentation to show locals how the trails could look.

He said: “These trails would serve many people. They would be used by mountain bikers, walkers and horse riders.

“I think a few folk have been getting excited thinking it is going to be the new Glentress. But just to put it into perspective, the Glentress area is 20 times bigger than the area we have here.

“This project wouldn’t be a rival to Glentress. It would complement it as it would be another great attraction for the central Borders.”

Early drawings suggest the trails begin near Galashiels Golf Club, run over the Glendearg area and into Langlee.

Mr Laing added: “Going by trails I have designed in the past, I am an optimist and would say the project would cost no more than £2million.

“That isn’t a set figure, it could change. However on the whole, it is small fry, compared with other projects. How much is the Tapestry building costing?

“Having carried out consultation meetings, there have been a few concerns, but the general consensus is that it would be great for Gala.”

Mr Laing told the meeting that local people would build the trails and schools and community groups would have the chance to get involved.

Judith Cleghorn, chairwoman of Galashiels Community Council, said: “We have sat in meetings for the last eight to ten years discussing the project and nothing has ever happened.

“Now I think it is time that something did.”

Residents were asked if they had any concerns over the plans.

Tom Ingoldsby said: “I think it is a great idea, but you will not get car parking in the Ladhope area, especially on Saturdays and Sundays when everyone is going to be at home.”

Concerns were also raised by Galashiels Golf Club, as the trails would start at the edge of the course; and by locals who said they were worried about bikers crossing the private Wylie’s Brae road.

Former Galashiels councillor Bill White, who is leading the project, said: “All of the comments will be taken on board.

“That is why we have held this meeting tonight, so everyone from different groups can get together and discuss the plans.

“We want to make sure the trails suit everyone and are as safe as they can be before we apply for any funding. We would like to hold another public event, perhaps in the Volunteer Hall, at a later date.”