IT'S one of the oldest and most famous inns in Scotland.

And very soon, the Crook Inn at Tweedsmuir, could soon be welcoming customers again - for a coffee.

First licensed in 1604 the rural coaching inn has been a favourite haunt of many writers down the centuries, including Rabbie Burns and Sir Walter Scott.

After its closure in 2006, a community group was formed to fight plans to demolish sections and convert parts into housing.

Following years of legal wrangles and funding applications the community purchased the historic building in 2013.

It was hoped that the Tweedsmuir Community Company would raise the required £2 million to turn the Crook into a major tourist destination and hub for Tweedsmuir.

But the group has now changed course with a phased plan of development - starting with the conversion of the former steading building into a cafe.

The group also wants to create a bunkhouse in the former staff quarters during phase one.

Duncan Davidson, chairman of Tweedsmuir Community Company, told us: "Developments are afoot for the Crook Inn.

"Although we now have great designs, with planning permission, for complete renovation to create a Crook Inn Community Hub, the funding for the complete renovation has not been obtained.

"So we are developing a phased plan of redevelopment to convert the previous steading building into a café to serve the local community and tourism and for a new-build bunkhouse in the previous staff accommodation."

Funding from the Scottish Government's Strengthening Communities Programme has enabled the Tweedsmuir Community Company to appoint the highly-regarded heritage and business company, Jura Consultants, to assist with business planning and obtaining further funding.

The community group is also looking to appoint a part-time Community Development Officer for an initial six months to help with community support and development.

Further information on the post can be obtained from Mr Davidson on 07783342302 or Community Company Treasurer Christine Parker on 01899 889370.