COMMUNITY leaders in Tweedsmuir are hoping to convince Scottish Borders Council to be patient with their plans to save one of Scotland's oldest inn.

The Tweedsmuir Company was formed by concerned residents more than a decade ago to fight plans to turn the historic Crook Inn into housing.

After winning their initial battle to prevent the development, the group went on to buy the building and most of the surrounding land.

Their own plans for the 400-year-old inn, made famous by Rabbie Burns and Sir Walter Scott, were finalised in 2014 after securing lottery funding.

And in October 2015 their plans for the creation of a community hub along with cafe and bunkhouse were passed by Scottish Borders Council - permission which only lasts for three years.

The planned £2 million development has since stalled as funding streams dried up.

The Tweedsmuir Company revealed last month that they are now planning a phased approach to converting the famous coaching inn.

And this week they submitted an application for the renewal of planning permission for work to be carried out over the next three years.

A spokesman for the Tweedsmuir Company told us: "Whilst fundraising is ongoing for the Crook Inn redevelopment, the community has secured additional land and buildings surrounding the Crook Inn and is working hard to secure funding from smaller grants to put in place a series of catalyst projects to re-activate the site as a community hub and generate revenue to support the main building redevelopment.

"This application is for the renewal of the Crook Inn consent, the conversion of the existing masonry L-shaped outbuilding into a community cafe and the demolition of the two-storey staff accommodation block and the building of a new bunkhouse.

"The supporting buildings would form the initial phases of development and help to ignite the process of revitalisation within the Crook Inn site."

The Tweedsmuir Community Company's fresh phase one plans would see just the conversion of the former steading building into a cafe and the creation of a bunkhouse in the former staff quarters.

Duncan Davidson, chairman of Tweedsmuir Community Company, told us: "Although we have great designs 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."

The group recently appointed heritage and business company, Jura Consultants, to assist with business planning and obtaining further funding.

They are also in the process of appointing a part-time Community Development Officer.

Scottish Borders Council's planning department will consider the renewal application over the coming weeks.