INNERLEITHEN residents have come out in force to support biking events in the town following recent criticism by a group of local homeowners.

Last week the Peeblesshire News covered a meeting of Innerleithen Community Council at which five residents used the public open forum to complain about last month's Transcend Biking Festival.

Following this report, many members of the Innerleithen community took to social media hitting out at the claims and praising the event, which was attended by thousands of bikers worldwide.

Moves are afoot to make Innerleithen the mountain bike mecca of Europe - including a £19 million investment to create world-class facilities.

But following the catalogue of complaints aired by the small group of residents, a strong message has been voiced to the community – “let’s embrace what’s coming to us”.

Transcend was TweedLove’s first instalment of the bike and music festival in the town.

And it is being hailed a success for not only creating a jam-packed programme for bike-mad riders of all ages, but breathing life back into the quiet town and boosting the economy.

Fears are growing that biking festival organisers will simply move these types of events from the town if faced with continued backlash.

Innerleithen was once described as “a poor cousin” to Peebles and Glentress for mountain biking and tourism, but is now on its way to becoming the national hub for outdoor events.

Following our article, Tom Veitch, who resides in Montgomery Street not far from the location of the festival, said: “We didn’t get the leaflets which were apparently posted through some doors about the traffic management plans and parking, but to be honest it was fairly self-explanatory. Apart from the cones on the street, we never had any issues with bad parking or disturbance from people attending the event.

“I could hear some music on the evenings but I liked the atmosphere and it certainly wasn’t a nuisance. We did attend the family ride on the Sunday, and while there was plenty of mud, I thought they’d done a great job creating such a big event in its first year in Innerleithen.”

With the proposed plans to redevelop the old mill to create the Mountain Bike Innovation Centre, Tom added: “I think its exciting times to be a resident in Innerleithen and I hope events like these continue to grow and do well here.

“I remember when Innerleithen was a poor cousin to Peebles and Glentress as an MTB and tourist destination, and I think it’s the hard work of local people who have brought Innerleithen to the fore. Most people are excited about the prospects and possible future developments here, and I’d hate people to get the wrong impression of the overall community support based on the reported views of a few people who were disturbed in the event’s first year.

“Having said that, I hope the organisers take on board the negative feedback and incorporate improvements into any future events. I know they were in touch with the community council earlier this year before the event, hopefully they’ll keep up this close relationship if they come back.”

Meanwhile, Allan Graham who has lived in the town all of his life said without events such as Transcend, the Innerleithen community has nothing.

He added: “The mills have all gone and what we have is biking, walkers etc. Let’s embrace what’s coming to us and make the most of it.”

Jamie Birks echoed this sentiment adding: “The town has a real and deserved opportunity to be a national hub for outdoor events such as this. So much talent and experience from so many organisations, coupled with truly amazing natural resources that could make such a positive impact on the town – if we all want it.”

Innerleithen Community Council has promised to pass on the complaints raised at the meeting to event organisers, Scottish Borders Council and Police Scotland.

But Chairman Marshall Douglas said the community council “strongly supports” the Transcend Bike Festival and will continue to work closely with event organisers to ensure the future success of the event.