THE blueprints for a series of community bike, pedestrian and horse riding trails have been published, sparking concerns from local residents.

Plans for a network of trails on Blaikie’s Hill, above the Langlee area of Galashiels, were first proposed in 2016 by then Gala councillor Bill White.

But it has taken until now for detailed plans to be drawn up.

The proposed network will connect Ladhope golf course in the northwest, to Langlee in the southeast, and Langlee Mains on the northeast face of Blaikie’s Hill.

The land on which Ladhope golf course sits is owned by the Galashiels common good fund, as is the land containing Langlee woods, while the rest of the hill is privately owned.

Trail designer Peter Laing appeared at a meeting of the Galashiels common good fund sub committee this week to unveil the proposed network.

He told councillors: “We’ve spoke to all of the landowners and they’re all quite positive about the use of the land for recreation and the upgrading of paths through their ground.

“We’re going through the consultation process which is contacting interested parties and getting their opinions on the scheme.

“There is already existing rights of way, maintained by the council, from Ladhope to Langlee, and one that travels north up to Stow.

“The section on the north west face of the hill will be for families and recreation. There will be easy climbing, and there’s two possible loops; one at Ladhope and one at Langlee, so there is good potential at both ends for family route.

“The other type of route we call ‘fit family’. Higher grade cycling, running, and walking, on higher ground.

“There’s loads of potential, it’s a big area, the views are fantastic, and people will want to get up there. The only difficulty at the moment is getting up the steep slopes.

“So the bulk of the multi use trail network will be building easy climb trails to get people to the top without too much stress.”

However, horse riders have voiced concerns over the plans which will could see more mountain bikes sharing the paths with horse riders.

And local residents Diane Leaver and Susan Burrow, both of Langlee Mains, attended the meeting.

Ms Leaver told councillors: “We’ve already had a handful of incidents with bikes coming down the road to Langlee Mains fast and with different residents coming round a steep corner, and the bikes coming the other way.

“Fortunately they have been far enough away to be able to stop so there hasn’t been an accident yet, but, you cannot see cars coming up until you’re almost at the junction.

Ms Burrow added: “The main concern is the specific mountain bike tracks, because although where they join the core paths there will be bits for them to slow up, I’m not sure that will be enough.

“My question is, will I be able to rise safely? Sometimes when we’re riding along they go ‘off-piste’ so to speak, and so therefore there’s nothing to slow them up.”

Galashiels and District councillor Harry Scott also voice concerns at the plans, but his main concern is that there isn’t ample parking for visitors.

He told the committee: “I have mixed feelings about this, I’ll be honest with you. The Langlee Woods is very popular with walkers, and cyclists, and I know there’s a good and a bad with everything and some of the cyclists come down the tracks without any idea of where they’re going and who might be going to meet them.

“The other thing that concerns is me is that in Langlee and Ladhope golf course, I don’t want to see any parking in these areas.

“It has to be discouraged. The road up to Langlee Mains Farm is not suitable for the type of cycles you’re talking about, it’s a narrow, twisty road with zones of invisibility.

“If there is to be parking, I suggest you look elsewhere.”

Councillors voted unanimously to submit the plans to the public for consultation, and for a report to be brought back to the committee in the future.

Council officers also confirmed that the trail network will require planning permission, which will give residents a second opportunity to submit their thoughts on the development.