Wetherspoon selling off Hawick and Peebles pubs but investing £812,000 in expansion of Galashiels bar

The Cross Keys in Peebles.The Cross Keys in Peebles.
The Cross Keys in Peebles.
More than 60 staff at two Borders pubs are facing an uncertain future now they have been put up for sale.

The Bourtree in Hawick and Cross Keys in Peebles are among 16 UK-wide being put on the market by Hertfordshire-based chain JD Wetherspoon.

The firm says it hopes the 31 staff apiece at the Bourtree Place and Northgate pubs will be kept on by any buyers, but, if not, it will offer any who aren’t the chance to be redeployed to what will be its only outlet left in the region, the Hunters Hall at Galashiels.

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The Hawick and Peebles pubs are among four Scottish ones being sold off.

Company spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We can confirm that the Bourtree in Hawick and Cross Keys in Peebles have been put up for sale.

“We totally understand that our loyal customers and staff will be disappointed with this decision.

“However, Wetherspoon, does, on occasion, put some of its pubs up for sale.

“It is a commercial decision taken by the company after long consideration.

“The pubs will continue to trade as normal until a buyer is found.

“We have told our staff that if the pubs are sold and they do not transfer to the purchasers, then we would do everything we can, including offering relocation to other Wetherspoon pubs, to try to avoid any redundancies. We would look to redeploy our employees to other Wetherspoon pubs in the region.”

Opening the Bourtree in 2011 cost Wetherspoon £1.1m but it is not yet known what asking price it will be seeking for it now or for the Cross Keys.

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The building housing it is the old Hawick Conservative Club, opened in 1897.

The Cross Keys, the oldest pub in Peebles, was taken over by Wetherspoon in 2014.

Their sales come as the chain is investing £812,000 in expanding the Hunters Hall.

The High Street pub, opened in 1999, is scheduled to close in mid-April and reopen on Friday, June 21.

Extending the pub into a former butcher’s shop next door will increase its current capacity of 394 by half again to 594.

The old JB Hogg butcher’s shop has been vacant since the retiral of boss Jim Hogg in 2013.

Planning permission for the pub to be extended was granted in June last year subject to various conditions, including limiting its beer garden’s opening hours to 11am to 10.30pm daily and agreeing any external redecoration with the council before proceeding, and a variation to its premises licence was agreed in October.

A spokesman for Wetherspoon said: “The majority of the existing appearance will remain the same, with the front elevation of the butcher’s re-using existing openings.”

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“To the rear, the existing outbuildings will be retained in form with mainly internal alterations, including the removal of the intermediate floor to enhance the space and make suitable for an external dining area.

“During the design of the current proposals, it has been noted that the proposed development is located within the Galashiels conservation area and, as such, the proposals to the front elevation are very minor.”

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