LAST orders have been called on one of the Borders' oldest pubs after refusal of a bid to convert it into a home was over-turned.

A planning application was submitted to Scottish Borders Council (SBC) for the change of use of ‘Deans Bar’ and function suite at 3 Orrock Place in Hawick into a private dwelling.

The aim is to regenerate the property, which stopped operating as a bar in May last year, from its current vacant state to a domestic property, matching the overall block.

But the application was rejected because the building is within a high risk flood area, with a report concluding: “Though the reuse of the building is undoubtedly welcome, the potential risk to residential occupants would, on balance, override the benefit of this particular proposal in this case.”

When members of SBC’s Local Review Body met on Monday (May 13) they overturned refusal after deeming the flood risk to be over-played.

Jedburgh councillor Sandy Scott said: “Well, this is basically about flooding and on this occasion I am going to go against the officer’s recommendation.

“This is the extension of an existing building, ostensibly in a flood plain. The owner is prepared to take the risk that there may be flooding. We have spent £92/93m on flood defences in Hawick. I don’t think the flood risk is going to be anything like it was 20 years ago.”

Hawick & Hermitage councillor Jane Cox agreed, saying: “I too think this. This is an essential building in the centre of Hawick. We have spent over £90m on the flood defence. What good is that doing if we haven’t got this area slightly protected?

“If the owners are willing to take the risk, which I would do for a one in 200 years risk of flooding, why on earth is it being refused?”

That sentiment was echoed by committee chair Neil Richards, Hawick & Denholm councillor, who added: “That caveat phrase ‘let buyer beware’ seems to come to mind here.

“There has been a pub here for a millennia, I would think. Hawick has always had some floods, but now, surely, with £94m spent, we can take a risk and have a development of this nature.”

A statement with the original application, from Selkirk-based Stuart Davidson architects, said: “It has become clear with attempted leasing by our clients and the current trend nationally, notably within Hawick, that the use of the property as a public bar has now reached a point that is not sustainable.

“There have been a number of noise complaints from owners above the property with sizeable sound testing studies and sound performance upgrades carried out in an attempt to appease and find a solution to the issue.

“The proposal to re-develop as a residential property for their use allows a building which is currently vacant and will continue to be vacant for the foreseeable future to be re-generated and allow the full building to match that of the immediately adjoining property to be fully residential.

“Any potential works would be carried out with materials resistant to potential rising water and any existing materials not suitable replaced, it would be proposed that the property would be fitted with flood barriers to all doorways to be part of the early warning flood scheme.”

It is known that there has been a public bar at the location for centuries.

At a licensing court in 1880, Bailie Milligan stated that the-then Ewe & Lamb had been licensed “for hundreds of years”.

It is known that prior to this James Elliot was the proprietor in 1841 with the inn re-built during his tenure in around 1860.

This was then re-built as the current form in the 1950s, replacing the former structure.

The current structure takes the form of the commercial property to the ground floor, with flats above it.

The public house changed to form to a public members club in 2005, turning back again to a public house in 2016, until Deans Bar closed finally in May 2023.