TIME is being called on a hotel bar in Innerleithen after approval was given for its conversion into a family home.

Applicant Christina Ritchie had submitted a planning application to Scottish Borders Council for the change of use of the Tweedside Hotel at 54 High Street into a residential dwelling.

The outlet closed during the coronavirus pandemic and has been marketed for sale without any buyers coming forward.

In his report recommending the change of use, Carlos Clarke, the council’s lead planning officer, expresses concern at the loss of a town centre hotel – but concludes that its conversion is ultimately  justified.

He said: “Residential use is an appropriate town centre use, and is as part of a mixed use nature and character of Innerleithen.

“That said, loss of a hotel is a concern, potentially detracting from the viability and vitality of the town centre.

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“However, the applicant has submitted a statement from the estate agent in which it is noted that the hotel has been marketed for a good number of years, with a good number of viewings but commercial funding difficulties have affected potential sales.

“I understand the hotel has now been vacant for a few months, so there is a realistic prospect of it remaining so for the foreseeable future.

“The loss of the hotel to the town centre will undermine its vitality and viability to a degree, but given the period of time it appears the applicant has attempted to sell it, it seems that preventing its future reuse would be more damaging to the town centre than be of value to it.”

A previous planning bid had been made for the conversion of the property into a holiday let and commercial units.

The property consists of three guest bedrooms, a three-bedroom manager’s flat, a bar and function rooms.