WORK on preparing for the construction of the long-awaited extra-care sheltered housing outside Langholm is set to start.
Developer Loreburn Housing Association is delighted that the development of the Murtholm site is progressing to the next stage with the submission of a planning application for enabling works.
The application covers work to create an access road from the A7 into the new development, including alterations to the existing traffic signals and service diversions such as Openreach cables and power lines.
The application follows the submission of the Masterplan in August.
A further planning application is scheduled to be submitted by the middle of December.
It relates to the new pedestrian and cycle footbridge and the extra care housing.
Loreburn plans to be on site in early 2021 to begin the enabling works which will be followed by bridgeworks and the start of the housing development which is scheduled to begin next spring.
Loreburn is working closely with Sustrans over the bridge’s design and development.
Lorraine Usher, chief executive, said: “Community representatives have worked with Loreburn for some time on developing this project and we’re delighted it is, slowly but surely, moving forward.
“It is good to share this positive news during such difficult and challenging times.
In Dumfries and Galloway people are living longer and new models of housing for older people must be developed to enable them to live independently for as long as possible.
“We’re pleased to have this opportunity to work with Langholm people and bring this specialist housing to the town.”
Nicol Nicolson, the Langholm Alliance’s community enterprise manager, said: “The alliance welcomes the progress in planning for Loreburn’s extra-care sheltered housing development at the Murtholm.
“Wider provision of accessible, local care for our ageing population is a key component of Langholm’s 10-year action plan.
“As we seek to develop our community infrastructure in an environmentally-conscious manner, building a new pedestrian and cycle bridge promises an exciting addition to our landscape.”
Councillor Ronnie Tait, Annandale East and Eskdale, said: “It’s great news. Well done to everyone involved, especially the Esk valley reference group.
“It is only about the development of extra-care housing and the pedestrian bridge so Thomas Hope Hospital, I would suggest, is secured for a very, very long time which was one of my election pledges.”
John Galloway, chairman of Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council, said: “I’m delighted to hear that, after nearly 12 months’ delay, Loreburn has announced it’s ready to start enabling works.
“This, I’m sure, will give the town not only much-needed fantastic housing for our less-able citizens but also encourage more people to set up home in this fantastic location.
“I also hope these enabling works will mean the first phase will be underway very soon and phase two will follow soon after, giving the town even more appeal for keeping families here and attracting new families to make Langholm their home.
“All of this, of course, ensures our existing services in the town are protected for generations to come.”