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The Upper Tweed

Map LocalThe immediate community that the TCC serves is the dispersed rural community of Tweedsmuir of about 200 people in the Upper Tweed area of the Scottish Borders.

Upper Tweeddale suffers from rural isolation. It has no public transport, post-office, school or shop. An outdoor education centre has closed but it still has Tweedsmuir Kirk and a village hall. The nearest health services are in Biggar (14 miles) and general hospitals are a one-hour drive away. The traditional employment is agriculture, with upland sheep, deer farming and forestry, but these employ limited numbers. More recently, the area around Tweedsmuir has become home to a number of large-scale wind farms. Some residents are self-employed, many travel to work elsewhere, and others are retired.

The wider Upper Tweed community includes Broughton (population about 900), eight miles north, which has a primary school, a village store, a tea room/bistro, a garage, a village hall, some sports facilities (tennis court and bowling green), and some bus services.

 

The Broader Community

Tweedsmuir is easily accessible to wider communities in the south of Scotland with opportunities for developing tourism, learning and heritage features to sustain the Tweedsmuir/Upper Tweed communities. It can be viewed as the centre of the South of Scotland. Although within the Scottish Borders region, Upper Tweed is adjacent to Dumfries and Galloway, to the south, and Lanarkshire to the west (both less than 15 miles). The Crook Inn lies on an established scenic route, the A701, linking Moffat, Dumfries and the M74 motorway to Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is about a one-hour drive north, Melrose/Galashiels about a one-hour drive to the east and Glasgow about 1 hour 20 minutes to the northwest. The nearest towns are Biggar in Lanarkshire, (14 miles), Moffat in Dumfries and Galloway, (15 miles), Peebles in the Scottish Borders (19 miles). Tweedsmuir connects into the national cycle route network and is located on the edge of one of the only Wild Land Areas in southern Scotland (Talla-Hart Wild Land Area) which, with the Tweedsmuir Hills, offers exceptional recreational walking opportunities.

 

Assessing Community Needs

We have held extensive consultations on the community needs and the options for the development of the community hub (with consultations in 2008, 2009, 2014 and 2015).

consulation

An external study by the Development Trusts Association of Scotland in 2013 reported that the six main needs in the community were:

  1. Improved employment prospects.
  2. Improved local services.
  3. Better facilities for recreation and social life.
  4. Greater awareness of local heritage.
  5. Greater encouragement of tourism.
  6. More available housing.

The Crook Inn Hub will tackle all these needs except the need for housing. In addition, we have three additional specific objectives for the Hub, increased learning and training, improved health and reduced environmental impact.

In 2014-15, three public workshops were held with the architectural design team, WTArchitecture.

In 2016-17, the TCC embarked on a series of Community ‘Conversations’ with members of the community to re-affirm the cross-section of needs across the community and to establish how the Crook Inn Hub might address these needs. 

Community Conversations

“The Crook Inn Hub would help us because it would provide a place to gather, socialise, eat, take classes. It would benefit our agricultural work and self-catering cottages. As our self-catering cottages would complement the hotel rooms and bunkhouse of the hub, we feel that we will be able to support each other in our enterprises.”

Ralph & Maura Glatt Farmer/Artist

“The Crook Inn Hub would provide the children with a local community to find paid work, would allow us to entertain visitors without the need to drive significant distances for dinner/drinks and would provide modern facilities for promoting community gatherings, a place where broadband would be available to facilitate home working/school studying, and a local place to escape to! In order to maintain Tweedsmuir as a sustainable rural community we must be able to offer local opportunities. There is a current gap in this area and CICH provides a unique opportunity to fill that gap and to secure Tweedsmuir’s sustained future for generations to come.”

Eric & Kirsty Stevens Surveyor and Solicitor

“A hub for activities, rehearsals and workshops would be a great addition to local infrastructure. The accommodation and catering would most benefit my business. I would like to be able to offer two/three day workshops but, at present, there is no suitable place to host clients. Crook Inn Hub is a great vision and would work very well.”

Susheila Jamieson Sculptor/artist

“I think it is essential for local business and could bring visitors to the area, so it would be good for local commerce. The Crook Inn Hub could benefit my business activities by providing space for workshops and accommodation for delegates.”

Kenneth Martin Photographer and Photographic Trainer

“The Crook Inn Hub would provide an ideal location for fitness instruction to be carried out. It would also be a place where ‘spread-out’ members of our community could come together, and, on a professional level, somewhere that would promote health, well-being and the benefits of exercise.”

Yvonne Waugh Fitness Instructor

“It would be somewhere to meet my friends, with cafe facilities at reasonable prices. The Crook could also provide employment opportunities for young people in the area within cycling distance, and it could be a meeting place for some of the groups I’m involved with, like the Young Farmers’ Club.”

Hazel Mason School Pupil, 15

“A newly refurbished Crook would be an ideal venue for meetings and also provide a centre of entertainment for visitors and residents alike. A shop could promote local produce, while office and workshop space would be extremely useful for local businesses. My holiday cottage guests would appreciate a place for food, drink, entertainment and information. “The Crook Inn Hub could also be a local interpretation centre, looking at the area’s geology, history, both ancient and more recent, land use and its role in supplying Edinburgh’s water. It could also be a centre for recreation, walking, cycling, fishing and shooting etc.”

Ann Welsh Farmer, Mossfennan Farm

“The Crook would be a meeting place, somewhere to socialise, with food and a bar, and a place to watch major sports events on TV. The hub would also give opportunities for all ages to socialise on an ad-hoc basis and would be somewhere for visiting family to eat and stay. “The hub would also be a great for my business. I currently have nowhere to host meetings and conferences. A meeting room and somewhere to lunch with my clients would be invaluable. “The local community has been put under much stress since the closure of the Crook Inn, with the community losing opportunities for informal social interaction.”

Andrew Mason MD of software company

“The Crook would provide a safe play area for children and it would give us a place to meet other families in the area. There would be employment opportunities for all ages and would be a real benefit to us as it is in walking distance. The Crook Inn is crucial to the development of this rural community.”

Victoria White Childminder and Waitress

“A multi-use sports facility would help me to improve my hockey skills and could help my fitness levels, while there could also be a clay pigeon shoot at Christmas. The cafe would be an ideal place to meet friends – at the moment the only option is to travel to Peebles – and could also be a place to revise and do homework away from home. It would also be a source of work. I feel I have missed out on an opportunity to have a job at the Crook in the way that many locals had in the past.”

Robert Parker Student

“The hub could have a community tennis court, exhibition space, somewhere for tutorials, a book exchange, cafe and post office facilities. It would also provide a much-missed focal point in the village and recreational facilities within walking distance. “The Crook Inn Hub would be a huge benefit to my business as it would offer a local outlet for my art and a place to hold classes for a wider audience. “There is a distinct lack of local facilities and amenities, which means local people have to drive considerable distances regularly. The hub would offer employment opportunities in the community, in particular for young people, and also provide social cohesion for everyone.”

Anna Welch Landscape and Figurative Artist