PLANS to turn a centuries-old Tweeddale pub into a bistro at the heart of the local community have taken a step forward.
The historic Crook Inn closed its doors in 2006.
And Tweedsmuir Community Company (TCC) – founded in 2007 – has worked tirelessly since to save and restore the site.
Now, the TCC has appointed Biggar-based Lawrie Construction to begin phase one of its plans to redevelop the 400-year-old inn into a community hub.
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Responding to the announcement that construction would begin, Tweeddale MP David Mundell (Conservative) said: “This is fantastic news for the local community in Tweedsmuir and testament to the hard work over many years of local people who have battled to see the Crook Inn reopened.”
He added: “As one of the first licensed establishments in Scotland, the hostelry where Robert Burns wrote his poem Willie Wastle’s Wife, and a haunt of writers like John Buchan and Sir Walter Scott, the Crook Inn has a rich history that the community rightly wanted to preserve for future generations. Having first been involved in the campaign to save the Crook Inn not long after it was closed in 2006, I remain a strong supporter of the Tweedsmuir Community Company’s efforts to bring it back into use and look forward to further progress being made.”
The Wee Crook will be a licensed café/bistro and the TCC hopes it will be open by spring 2022.
The old manager’s house has already been demolished, making way for more building work to commence.
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James Welch, vice chairman of TCC, said: “We are really delighted to have made it across the line and are now able to move our focus to the delivery of a new facility for the Upper Tweed community and to welcome visitors to the area.”
As well as the café/bistro, the Crook Inn site will become a key area for the Tweedsmuir community, offering a bunkhouse for visitors, a community garden, and campsite.
Funding for the Crook Inn project has been secured through the Scottish Land Fund and SSE Clyde Borders and Ventient Energy Glenkerie windfarm community funds.
Mr Welch said: “The support of Scottish Borders Council over the past six months has been incredible, in unlocking the major funding grant from SoSEP (South of Scotland Economic Partnership) and for enabling us to put this contract in place.
“The support from local wind farm funds has been instrumental, too, and we are truly grateful to all of our funders for making this happen.”