EXCLUSIVE: Public urged to get behind buy-out and sign petition
THE potential community buy-out of Langholm Moor has reached a critical stage in its bid to buy several thousand acres of designated land from Buccleuch.
After five months of round-the-clock preparation, the team behind the buy-out is ready to present its plan to the public.
Their support is crucial to being able to move onto the next stage and people are being asked to sign a petition.
The Langholm Initiative will release the information about its plan for part of Langholm Moor this Saturday.
The information is based on feedback from the community and the comprehensive feasibility study and business planning work.
Information packs will be posted to houses in the town and surrounding area and the information will be available at www.langholminitiative.org.uk
This will be followed by a period of community consultation on these plans running from next Monday until Monday, March 30.
The purpose of this consultation is for the people of Langholm and the surrounding area to show their support for the buy-out.
This will be done via an online petition which can be signed at www.langholminitiative.org.uk, available from this Saturday or in hard copy form at Welcome to Langholm, Latimers, The Buccleuch Centre, The Paper Shop, Cumberland Building Society and the E&L Advertiser office, the Post Office in Canonbie and the Eskdalemuir Hub.
The forms will be available from next Monday.
Open days will be held in Welcome to Langholm on Wednesday, March 18, Thursday, March 19 and Saturday, March 21.
Members of the Langholm Initiative working group will be available on these days between 10am and 12pm, 2pm and 4pm and 6pm and 8pm.
This is a vital stage of the process towards community ownership.
The areas of land have been agreed between the Initiative and Buccleuch and positive discussions continue towards an agreement on price.
The Initiative will apply to the Scottish Land Fund towards the end of March if people support the plan to buy the land for the community’s benefit.
It is vital that the Initiative shows vast support for the buy-out and encourages as many people as possible to sign the petition.
It is also extremely important that the Initiative itself has a strong membership base.
The information pack being delivered to homes will contain membership forms which can be completed and returned to Welcome to Langholm or the Initiative office at Bells Mill in Glenesk Road.
People can also become members online through the Initiative’s website. Membership is free and takes only a minute online.
After the consultation period and provided there is strong community support for the buy-out, the Initiative will embark on a fundraising campaign to raise the required funds for the community purchase, including an application to the Scottish Land Fund.
The plans being released are expected to include protection of the Common Moss, the creation of a nature reserve, native woodland planting, environmental climate action and business development.
Ownership of the identified areas also has the potential to provide increased access for a host of community organisations. This could benefit people of all ages and interests.
A number of these organisations have given letters of support towards the potential purchase, including Langholm Common Riding members, OutPost Arts, the Muckle Toon Adventure Festival, Langholm Academy Cluster, Langholm Playcare, Langholm Day Centre, Langholm Archive Group, Eskdale and Liddesdale Archaeological Society, Langholm and District Art Club, Xcel Youth Trust, Langholm Probus Club, Langholm Chilli Club, Langholm Digs for Victory and the Church of Scotland Parish of Langholm, Eskdalemuir, Ewes and Westerkirk.
The Langholm Alliance and Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council have also expressed their support.
he Langholm Alliance and Langholm, Ewes and Westerkirk community council have also expressed their support.
Any a organisation, which would like to lend their support, can write to email@example.com.
Kevin Cumming, the community buy-out project leader, said: “It has been an extremely tense and demanding five or six months.
“In this time the working group has worked around the clock to get the community to this stage.
“We continue to have very positive talks with Buccleuch and this has helped keep the process flowing.”
He added: “Community ownership of the land is something which does not happen often in southern Scotland but it gives a unique opportunity
for the people here.
“The opportunities presented through this buy-out have the potential to be a well-deserved turning point for the community.
“The working group hopes people can see the ambition and the possibilities presented by our plans and get behind them.
“This is a project for the community and we will proceed only if people want us to.
“Signing the petition and becoming a member of the Langholm Initiative are the best ways people can show their support.”
The Langholm Initiative working group consists of Kevin Cumming, Margaret Pool, John Hanrahan,
Alison Hutton, Peter Renwick, Mairi Telford Jammeh and Niall