AN historic pub in Selkirk will be demolished later this year to kickstart further redevelopment of the Sir Walter Scott Courthouse.

It was planned to flatten the former Cross Keys a couple of years ago to make way for an access extension to be built for the town hall building.

The pub had been bought to act as a community hub but within months the extent of dry rot within its timbers forced its closure.

The initial proposals for demolition in 2017 were dropped in favour of phase one of the Courthouse restoration being completed along with the the rest of the town centre improvements.

But as part of Scottish Borders Council Executive's proposals, which are expected to be agreed on Wednesday, funding for the demolition has now been factored into the forthcoming year's Culture and Heritage budget.

And a further £500,000 has also been earmarked to help part-finance the second phase of improvements to the Courthouse in 2022/23.

A spokesman for the local authority told us: "The Cross Keys property, which had previously lain empty for a number of years, has deteriorated in condition and it is uneconomical to retain.

"Any regeneration plan will require its demolition given it is in such an advanced stage of dereliction.

"Consequently the building will be demolished in the coming months as a piece of enabling work for a future project.”

The Cross Keys had been a popular haunt for revellers in Selkirk for over a century.

But after being bought by a national chain, it closed almost a decade ago.

After being left as a boarded-up eyesore for three years it was bought by Scottish Borders Council at the start of 2014 to be used as a community hub.

The plans also included a holiday-let flat to be created on the first floor.

But the discovery of extensive dry rot the following year forced the community organisations to move out - and it has remained empty ever since.

Its planned demolition and the the second phase of improvements to the neighbouring Courthouse will be seen by many as the final piece of the regeneration jigsaw.

The council spokesman added: "The council acquired the former Cross Keys in Selkirk town centre in 2014 as part of an ambitious redevelopment plan connected to the restoration of the adjacent Sir Walter Scott Courthouse and made use of it as a community hub.

“The £431,000 Courthouse restoration was the centrepiece of the Selkirk Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme programme and has safeguarded the future of the town centre building where Sir Walter Scott dispensed justice to the people of Selkirkshire in the early 19th century.

“Any further phases of development will require grants and or funding from third parties.

"The council and Live Borders will continue to work with the community to develop a proposition for this building that meets the needs of Selkirk, is financially sustainable and can be developed by securing funds from as wide a set of organisations as is possible."

Close to £1.5 million has already been spent on Selkirk Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme which included major restoration work to the Courthouse and town clock spire as well as redesigning the layout of the Market Place.