Grant sees plans for Crook Inn take step forward

A Borders village’s battle to reopen one of the oldest pubs in Scotland has taken a big step forward.

Campaigners who raised £160,000 to buy the 410-year-old Crook Inn in Tweedsmuir on behalf of the village in 2012, have now obtained a £50,000 development grant from Big Lottery to help meet the cost of formulating a plan to refurbish the pub and create a community hub there.

The Tweedsmuir Community Company, set up seven years ago to lead the campaign, has commissioned WT Architecture, based in South Queensferry, near Edinburgh, to design a complete renovation of the listed inn. Community Enterprise, a business team specialising in community project development, has also been employed.

After consultation with Upper Tweed residents over the next few months, the new plans, which must have planning permission from the Scottish Borders Council, will form the basis of a stage 2 bid for around £1million to Big Lottery in the summer 2015.

If that bid is successful, the funding will cover the costs of refurbishment and the development of a community hub at the Crook. Duncan Davidson, chairman of the Tweedsmuir Community Company, said: “This is great news. It is another vital step in developing what will, hopefully, be the biggest, most important development for sustaining Upper Tweed for generations.

“We will hold community consultations in the near future and these meetings will give residents in Upper Tweed the opportunity to participate in designing facilities to meet a variety of needs in our rural community.

“The hub will be a stylish building, offering fine hospitality, and retaining its art deco features, It will again be a venue for social and cultural life for the community, and our plans also include a small shop to sell local produce to visitors as well as locals. The hub will be able to host educational course and meetings. The Crook will again be an attractive place for food and drink and also indirectly support local B & B businesses.”

Principal architect at WT Architecture Wil Tunnel said: “From August- January we will hold a series of design workshops to develop design proposals and we hope that as many people as possible will be able to be involved.”