Page last updated at 14:28 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Historic pub conversion rejected

Crook Inn
Plans to turn the Crook Inn into housing have been refused

Plans to convert a 17th Century Borders pub into flats have been rejected by the Scottish Government.

A public hearing took place last year into the proposals for the Crook Inn at Tweedsmuir.

A reporter has now backed Scottish Borders Council's decision to refuse planning permission for the site.

He said that if the conversion to residential use went ahead then "a part of the familiar and cherished history" of the former pub would be lost.

The decision brings to an end a long-running wrangle over the plans for the inn, which dates back to at least 1604.

I hope now that the Crook can be saved for future generations to enjoy
David Mundell MP

SBC rejected plans to convert the building into housing but developers Inverwest Ltd appealed against that decision.

A public hearing was held late last year and the reporter has now delivered his findings.

He said: "Conversion to a residential use would bring to an end more than four centuries of public house use at the site.

"A part of the familiar and cherished history would be lost."

The reporter also said the impact on the local community would be significant.

"The loss of the services and facilities provided by the hotel would have a disproportionate effect on the Tweedsmuir community," he said.

Although the Crook Inn ceased trading some time ago, the reporter said he believed it remained a "practical and viable" business proposition.

'Very welcome'

Residents in the area have formed a community company with a view to buying the property and running it as a pub.

Tweeddale MP David Mundell said he hoped that bid could now gain momentum.

The Tory MP said: "I very much welcome the appeal decision which has come out against turning this historic and important building into flats.

"This inn is too important to the community to be lost and the outcome of this appeal is a great victory for everyone who campaigned to save the Crook - they have my warmest congratulations.

"I hope now that the Crook can be saved for future generations to enjoy.''

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