Some of you will already be aware through the press that the Forestry Commission in Scotland, which is not in danger of being privatised unlike in England, is under pressure to become more "commercial" ie. to raise more income from all areas of activity. The first taste of this shift in policy comes, so far as MTBs are concerned, with the news that Tracy Brunger and Emma Guy have been ruled out of the bidding process for running the replacement to The Hub @ Glentress. It appears that this decision has been made very early on in the process, that no explanation has been given( other than that the FC have a prefered bidder apparently) and that there is no right of appeal. This should clearly be worrying to anyone who has enjoyed this excellent facility which has been very successfully run by the girls for about 10yrs.Especially as they have been instrumental in this trail centre becoming one of the most successful in the UK, they put in far more than they are obliged to under their current lease and their combined businesses currently employ about 30 souls who stand to lose their jobs.
The FC rational for this is that they wish to make Glentress a 5 star facility, implying that it is not already although it is advertised as such. Sure there are areas for improvement in the existing trails and further trails could well be added, together with the rumoured linking to nearby Innerleithen but i am sure there are few who have actually used this centre who would question how much the girls have achieved with relatively little. To deny them the opportunity to put forward a business plan the take this forward seems odd therefore not to mention anticompetetive.
The most worrying aspect for me, casually perusing the little i have thus far seen, is the management consultant jargon used in the FCs press release. It would seem to betray a total lack of understanding of the true nature of out sport. BEWARE! if this is the way forward for FC Scotland then we could soon see ALL of our trails on FC Scotland land becoming run for maximum profit with the inherent restrictions to who, why, where and when we can ride. Believe me i worked at a despatch company in London which was taken over by one of these guys, he wrecked the business by thinking he understood, by the power of thought alone, everything that was involved. Within 3 months the majority of clients had left, the best staff also and the company was near dead. This could be the way for our sport on FC Scotland ground. Sure some industry sponsorship of trails would be nice (?) but do you want Megabucks Cycle Corp to tell you you cant ride THEIR trail because they are holding an event you didnt know about when you set out to drive 40-50 miles for a days riding?
This is just part of what may come if those who enjoy these facilities dont do more about it than wait and then bellyache after the fact.
Apologies for the overlong rant and if i have posted it where you cant find it(! hello if you have!) ANY THOUGHTS...ANYONE!
Any additional info would be good so far what i have found is sketchy, i will try to research and post what i find. First off will be the Facebook page to join the campaign to try and get FCS to reconsider, and the email address for the FCS representative to contact
P.S. if you think this is bad the wholesale privatisation of FC land in England will be SOOOO much worse. I'm old enough to remember the changes and broken promises the last time around, in the 80's.
Just to be clear i have no personal or commercial interests in the Hub other than enjoying the facilities and the trails they service.
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