The Recent Story
The Crook Inn had been a source of employment, social and cultural life, a resource for travellers and part of our heritage for over 400 years. It was purchased in 2006 by a property speculator to convert it into a housing development. This was fought by the community, which formed the TCC in 2007. The TCC opposed the planning application, and obtained a ‘Right to Buy’ in 2008. It organised a series of five Tweedsmuir Music Festivals from 2009 to 2013 and various community events. In 2012 the owner agreed to sell the Crook Inn building by the end of 2012, if the purchase price of £160,000 was raised. The TCC organised an amazing appeal, Save the Crook Inn, and was successful with widespread support from the local, adjacent communities and from supporters in England and Canada. In 2015 the TCC then purchased the rest of the land at the Crook Inn site for £150,000 from a substantial grant from the Scottish Land Fund and from two other Community Grants and local Wind Farms. Volunteers have undertaken clearing up of the Crook Inn after purchase, maintenance of the grounds, and organising community activities.
The TCC’s vision is to expand the use of the Crook Inn from a hotel/pub to meet the specific broad community needs and ensure sustainability. The TCC obtained a development grant from the Big Lottery Growing Community Assets programme in 2014 that enabled us to commission a design team led by WTArchitecture, supported by quantity surveyors, electrical and structural engineers and a conservation architect, Stephen Newsom. The design emerged during three community workshops in 2014-15. The designs obtained planning permission from Scottish Borders Council in May 2015, and will retain the striking, listed art-deco features. Beyond this first phase of work, the TCC has established a longer-term vision for all of the land in its ownership, which includes the provision of a number of compatible community and visitor uses, including a bunkhouse, camping ground and additional recreational facilities .
To help the TCC to advance its ambitious proposals for the Crook Inn Hub, we are now seeking funding from The Big Lottery Scotland under its new, ‘Community Assets’ programme, for a development grant to support preparation of a detailed strategic plan and the completion of a full capital checklist.
These will be used to support for an application for a major grant under Community Assets, summarised as follows:
1 A Strategic Plan
The TCC’s plans will provide a business and management plan that will update and expand the previous business plan (2015).
- Business plan: review and update the management structure, the costs and ﬁnancial projections.
- Present the outcomes to meet the identiﬁed community needs.
- Undertake additional research and present a clear analysis of potential impact on local businesses.
- Commission a study of the social return on investment or other social impact study.
2 Capital Developments
The TCC now owns the Crook Inn and the surrounding land to the west on the site so has no requirements for acquisition. We already have planning permission for impressive plans for complete renovation of the Crook Inn to create the Crook Inn Community Hub.
Our proposals will include a completed capital checklist on the design and costs of the development and will include updated information in the following areas.
- Preliminaries: updated dry rot survey of the Crook Inn.
- Obtain intrusive ground load-bearing surveys of new build area.
- Obtain quotations on foul-drainage improvement.
- Obtain quotations for intrusive archaeological investigations during construction.
- Commission further submission by WTArchitecture to the SBC Planning Department that incorporates the revised opportunities for extended parking that arising from the purchase of land after submission of planning application in 2015 and design of Crook Steading Café.
Updated costs - the plan is to reflect the above information and may also include:
- Office space for hire
- Workshop/storage space
- Community garden, additional recreation area
- Use of outdoor space: children’s play area, outdoor tables for travellers and guests; garden with Kentigern stone; space for marque (weddings, events e.g. music festivals)
- Formation of access to the proposed cycle/walking path to Tweedsmuir village.
Later developments for discussion.
- Commission the costs and selection of design for a multi-use games area.
- Commission WTA to design bunk house and camping facilities to enhance the business case.
This ambitious programme has an estimated capital cost of over £2.75m, to be updated as part of the further feasibility work. TCC will seek funding from a variety of sources:
- Big Lottery: Community Assets.
- Heritage Grant from Heritage Lottery Fund. 2017-18.
- Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, in collaboration with the Scottish Borders Council, in 2018.
- Other funders, some for specific components of proposals: The Robertson Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, LEADER, Community Benefit Funds from local Wind Farms (SSE, Infinis).
TCC has recently been successful in securing funding from the Clyde Wind Farm Community Fund for a part-time Community Grants Officer, who will assist it with applications to these and other funders.