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The TCC’s vision is to extend the use of the Crook Inn from a hotel/pub to meet broad community needs and ensure sustainability. The TCC obtained a development grant from the Big Lottery Growing Community Assets programme in 2014 and commissioned the development of plans by WTArchitecture and their team to design and cost the complete renovation of the Crook Inn, in consultation with the community. Community Enterprise was commissioned to develop a Business Plan. The design emerged during three community workshops in 2014-5. The designs obtained Planning permission from Scottish Borders Council in May 2015.

plan

A place …

/…%20to%20meet
… to meet
The Crook Inn will again be a place for family, friends, groups, developing community activities and reducing isolation.
/…%20for%20recreation
… for recreation
Children’s play area, a base for walking and cycling, for a game of pool, or watching live sport on TV.
/…%20for%20community%20services
… for community services
A base for the village’s defibrillator. Access to first aid from trained personnel. Information on activities, events, tourism and community services. Supplies such as bread and milk. Library service and book exchange.
/…%20for%20local%20business
… for local business
A shop to sell the very best of local produce and office space for budding entrepreneurs.
/…%20to%20learn
… to learn
Come to the Crook for workshops in many activities, including arts and crafts, and the chance to volunteer to help the local community and beyond. Courses on local heritage and the environment will also raise awareness of the area.
/…%20for%20events
… for events
Bringing social, cultural and sporting activities to the community, such as music festivals, weddings, photographic and art exhibitions.
/…%20to%20stay
… to stay
Delightful hospitality in Art Deco rooms, both standard or family.
/…%20to%20work
… to work
Employment for local people, including providing youngsters with their first experience of work.
/…%20to%20last
… to last
The successful business will support the community and the community hub will support the community.

all images by WT Architecture

The Crook Inn Hub will meet community needs in the following ways:

 

1 Improved Employment Prospects

The Crook Inn Hub will:

  • Provide at least six full-time-equivalent posts (hospitality, chef, finance officer, general manager).
  • Provide approximately 10 full-time-equivalent jobs during the development phase.
  • Enhance local businesses by providing hospitality for up to 30 self-catering beds.
  • Provide (in the shop) an outlet for local artists, photographers and craft workers. It will sell food products from the south of Scotland.
  • Offer a meeting room for local businesses.
  • Provide office space for small developing local businesses.
  • Provide accommodation and catering for workshops in areas such as photography, sculpture, jewellery and business development.

 

2 Improved Local Services

The Crook Inn Hub will:

  • Provide important emergency food supplies (milk, bread) and a range of local food products suitable for the community and visitors.
  • Help with medical emergencies. The community defibrillator will be housed near the entrance and staff trained in its use. Staff will also have first-aid training in view of distance to the GP health service (14 miles), and hospitals in Edinburgh, Wishaw and Melrose at 35-50 miles. There is no local First Response team.
  • Be a focal point for local and tourist information.
  • Provide facilities such as local printing and copying.
  • Offer a regular stopping point for the SBC Mobile library service.
  • Offer an exchange book service.
  • Provide charging points for electric vehicles

 

3 Better Facilities For Recreation And Social Life

The new Crook will include a cafeteria/ bistro and bar for individuals and groups, including wedding and funeral parties. There will also be space for proposed community activities and a meeting room.

Proposed Activities:

  • Workshops. programme of writing, art, photography, handicrafts
  • Exhibitions. arts and craft.
  • Meetings. Our meeting room will hold up to 12 places for use of workshops and business meetings. The room will include contemporary digital projection systems. It will include also water and sink, important facilities for handicraft workshops.
  • Cinema. The community cinema will have monthly screenings.
  • Music evenings.
  • Events. Weddings, funerals, and all sorts of other occasions.
  • Hairdressing/beautician.
  • Youth Activities. There will be facilities for young adults. A clear desire was expressed during the community needs assessment workshops for a space that includes pool table and TV. This was incorporated in the architects’ designs.

 

4 Greater Awareness Of Local Heritage

Our vision is to enhance understanding of an upland rural community on the theme of ‘rural change’. The proposed heritage interpretation will feature the changing use of the land, not just for the local community but for the wider community in Scotland -  forestry, sheep and deer farming, the River Tweed, water management (Scottish Water) and renewable energy (wind farms). The interpretation will also include living in Tweedsmuir, and the story of the Crook Inn over 400 years, leading to the creation of the Crook Inn Community Hub. The heritage of the Upper Tweed valley includes the source of the River Tweed , bronze age settlements, religious conflicts, literary visitors, the changing way of life and ecology, the story of transport through the valley; the families that have lived here, the current wildlife, and the still changing the use of the land.

We are applying to Heritage Lottery Fund for a Heritage Grant to facilitate the development of excellent heritage interpretation facilities for our local community, schools and visitors and to contribute to the building’s restoration costs. We will use existing articles on heritage (www.uppertweed.org), literature and oral history and, as necessary, to create content for an App, local information boards and touch-screen demonstrations for use in the Crook Inn Hub by local residents and visitors. Activities to celebrate the heritage will become part of the management plan.           

          

5 Greater Encouragement Of Tourism

The long-term viability of the project depends on developing tourism and we have had encouragement from Visit Scotland in this regard.

 

Hospitality

The hospitality provision includes nine bedrooms, (two art deco-style rooms), and a family bedroom. The bar and café/bistro will provide food and drink for visitors, including tour buses and locals. It will be managed by professional staff. We plan to provide locally-sourced food and drink as much as possible. The provision of catering will increase the attraction of visitors to the area using self-catering facilities.

We propose to renovate and develop buildings and land acquired in 2015 for additional parking, bunk house, camping facilities, community garden, woodchip heating and storage.

 

Walking and Cycling

We will provide facilities for cyclists using the Scottish Coast to Coast route and other cyclists. There is good evidence that cycle tourism provides support for local communities and we have become part of the Scottish Borders Cycle Tourism Strategy Consultation, 2016-2021.

A regularly used cycling hut for Edinburgh Cycling Club is 600 metres north of the Crook Inn Hub.

We propose to develop a section of the disused Talla railway, that we own,  into a cycle/walking path that will help to connect the Crook Inn with the village centre and will benefit residents and give visitors access to quiet routes.

It will provide access to scenic, quiet roads to Talla and Fruid reservoirs, ideal for family cycling, and for the more energetic route to St Mary’s Loch. The proposals are developed in collaboration with the Upper Tweed Railway Paths. The course has been identified, agreed with the landowner and with SNH, and a grant for the development of planning applications obtained.

There are excellent walking facilities, including the nearby Wild Land Area identified by SNH and the Scottish Government. Culter Fell, Broughton Heights, and Broadlaw.  Maps and route options will be provided.

 

Additional features to enhance the visitor experience:

  1. A programme of workshops will be arranged for visitors as well as residents.
  1. The heritage programmes for individuals and groups will provide additional resources for tourism.
  1. The Crook Inn Hub will be an attractive base for visiting attractions in the area – the excellent museum in Biggar, the Botanic Gardens at Dawyck, the John Buchan Experience in Peebles.
  1. As a base for country sports accommodation – fishing in the Upper Tweed at Dawyck, and for shooting on local estates.
  1. Multi-use Games area A MUGA is planned for visitors and residents in Upper Tweed. A community survey has been undertaken.

 

6 INCREASED LEARNING AND TRAINING

  1. The Crook Inn Hub will provide hospitality training in the kitchen, café/bistro and the bar. We have also discussed proposals to provide hospitality and horticulture on-site experiences for the Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, in collaboration with the High schools in Biggar, Peebles and Moffat.
  1. The programme of workshops in art, photography and handcrafts will attract and inform groups of 8-10 locals and visitors held in the meeting room and or community space.
  1. Volunteers. Community volunteers have already contributed vitally to the acquisition of the Crook Inn in  its maintenance and fundraising activities. Volunteers will continue to participate in creating the heritage resource, learning about the community and the methods of presentation of heritage and its maintenance.
  1. They will also learn about management of community events. The TCC Board will increase skills in management of this major development.

 

7 IMPROVED HEALTH

The Crook Inn Hub will provide information and support resources for cycling and walking. This will be facilitated with the provision of a cycle/walking path to the centre of Tweedsmuir, encouraging healthy methods of transport.  There is increasing evidence for the importance of improved heath on health care and other costs to the community.

For children the Crook Inn Hub will provide a play area. An assessment of the support for the design and costs of a multi-sport area is currently being undertaken.

 

8 REDUCED ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

  1. The design of the Crook Inn Hub includes renewable energy source (wood-chip heating). It also includes increased insulation, which will minimise energy loss from the building.
  1. An electricity recharging point for electric vehicles will be provided.
  1. The provision of local facilities for work and recreation will reduce transport costs for residents who work in the CICH and meet for social life and for learning.
  1. Recycling will be built into the management process.

 

How will the vision be realised?