A historic pub closed for almost a year could have a bright future ahead of it if expansion plans get the go-ahead.
The King’s Arms in Melrose High Street has been shut since January this year, but plans are being drawn up to reopen it, creating up to a dozen jobs.
Its owner, Punch Taverns, wants to have a bespoke dining area built in the courtyard behind the seven-bedroom hotel to boost its appeal.
The Staffordshire-based pub chain hopes to be allowed to add a single-storey extension to the next year.
In a report to Scottish Borders Council, a spokesperson for Punch Taverns highlights the need to extend the business, saying: “A pub closed down in Scotland every week in the second half of last year, new figures have revealed.
“The Campaign for Real Ale said 28 pubs north of the Border closed their doors permanently between July and December, while across the UK, a total of 18 pubs are closing every week.
“Given the current economic climate and declining numbers of pubs, those which still exist have to offer more than just burgers and chips and cheap beer if they are to have a viable and sustainable future.
“The pub has never had a bespoke restaurant area that could welcome foodies with confidence, as well as catering for paying guests of the hotel, and this application offers this opportunity.
“Where possible, local building materials and companies would be used to aid and sustain local economic growth.
“It is envisaged that once the works are complete, the hotel would be employing eight to 12 employees on a full-time and part-time basis.
“This number may increase during the tourist season.”
The pub is believed to date back at least as far as 1849 and possibly to 1793.
It is one of five in Melrose, the others being the George and Abbotsford Hotel, Burt’s Hotel, Station Hotel and Ship Inn.