COMMUNITY leaders in Selkirk have been told there is a greater chance of a town centre pub falling down than being demolished this year.

The Border Telegraph revealed last month that Scottish Borders Council was planning to flatten the Cross Keys.

And officials at the local authority confirmed that "the building will be demolished in the coming months as a piece of enabling work for a future project".

But local councillor Caroline Penman does not believe the finances are in place for knocking down the once-popular pub.

Councillor Penman said: "There is no money in place to fund any demolition work.

"The only way I can see the Cross Keys coming down this year is if it falls down.

"The building will have to be demolished as it is rotten inside, but the finances will have to be found first.

"From what I'm told it will be demolished from the back - but, as yet, we don't know when."

Selkirk Community Council was told at its meeting last week that the building is now too unsafe to enter.

Extensive dry rot has led to timbers crumbling and internal masonry breaking away.

Water is also pouring down through the upper ceilings during rain storms.

And local authority engineers are monitoring an emerging structural crack in the building.

Community council chair Alistair Pattullo said: "It is heartbreaking that such a prominent building is in such a mess, especially when you consider how much has been spent on improving the Market Place."

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 Sir Walter Scott Courthouse.

The pub had been bought to act as a community hub in 2014 but within months the extent of dry rot discovered in its timbers forced the 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.

Although £500,000 has been earmarked towards kick-starting the second phase in 2022/23, other funding has still to be secured.

And any demolition work on the Cross Keys will leave an unsightly gap until work can commence.

Community activist Sue Cook said: "I am concerned that there are no firm plans in place.

"We are going to be left with an ugly big hole in the middle of our town."

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.

But a similar amount will be required again for a new extension to be built in place of the Cross Keys.

Councillor Penman added: "We are looking at ways of funding a replacement building at the moment."