Folk in a Borders village delighted as couple manage to save both the pub and restaurant

Villagers are celebrating after a Borders couple worked out a solution to save the the local pub and restaurant.

By Paul Kelly
Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 3:50 pm
Scott Kinnear, Gareth Stanton and Steve Harper at The Old Bakehouse in West Linton.
Scott Kinnear, Gareth Stanton and Steve Harper at The Old Bakehouse in West Linton.

Just as many others in the hospitality industry, Fiona Ingram and her partner Steve Harper have endured a tough year.

But the couple had it harder than most as they own and run two outlets in West Linton – the Gordon Arms Hotel pub and The Old Bakehouse restaurant, both located within 200 yards of each other.

The two premises are vital to the village as social outlets.

However, it came to the point that a choice over which was to survive needed to be made.

Happily, a solution has now been found.

A planning application has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council for the restaurant, which has been offering ‘bakeaways’ during lockdown, to be converted into a residential flat and duplex.

The plan is then to move the restaurant business into the pub’s existing pool room and trade both businesses under one roof.

It’s a compromise that villagers are delighted with, said Fiona, who together with Steve has run the restaurant for 14 years and the pub over two periods, from 1998 to 2003 and again for the last two years.

Fiona said: “We’ve had the trickiest year of our lives and in last year we closed both businesses down three times.

"We were limping through until Christmas when this next substantial lockdown hit and it’s been financially disastrous.

"The village knew there was no way Steve and me could come through this unscathed and they are delighted with what we have come up with. Their support has been phenomenal.

"People are saying it’s brilliant, that it’s a no-brainer and they are delighted the village is still going to have the restaurant.

"What we are doing means all the staffs’ jobs being saved. The Gordon has a really nice outdoor area which is crucial in Covid.

"So the village loses nothing, admittedly it loses the restaurant and that is heartbreaking to me, but it has retained everything at the pub and we have the chance now to somehow getting through this.

"We are selling our bakeaways this weekend for Easter, then actually closing down for two weeks to get organised up at the Gordon and then we’ll do our bakeaways from there for one weekend and then the following weekend is the end of April when we will be allowed to open outdoors.

“When you come in it will be the Gordon Arms Hotel but there will be a sign welcoming you to the ‘Old Bakehouse at the Gordon Arms’.

“It’s a good way or merging and saving everything.”