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News | 7th August 2020
 

Town is a high priority

Langholm does not rank the lowest in an index based on need

 
 
 

A REPORT, which places Langholm as the town in Dumfries and Galloway least in need of regeneration, has been labelled “misleading”.

The document, which went to the full council last Thursday, put Langholm at the bottom of a league of 18 towns and villages in the region.

Members were being given an update on the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, which is being driven by the five cross-border councils.

This update included the progress of the Borderlands Place programme, under which the index of towns was drawn up.

Langholm lies at the bottom on 70 points below Annan on 110, Eastriggs on 128, Gretna on 122, Lochmaben on 95, Lockerbie on 121 and Moffat on 93.

However, the council’s own plan is committed to the regeneration of six priority areas, one of which is Langholm.

This commitment is included in the work done by council officers using the index agreed with the Borderlands’ partners.

Members were told at the meeting that because of the impact of COVID-19, the programme would need to adapt to the new circumstances these places found themselves in.

The idea of the programme is to enable communities to repurpose and reinvent towns by delivering individual place plans, which would be prepared for selected priority towns.

These would create and sustain vibrant towns and town centres to ensure communities directly benefited from inclusive growth and made the most of their cultural and heritage assets.

Its priority is to deliver change in towns to improve their resilience and practical, positive outcomes.

Councillor Archie Dryburgh has sought to reassure the town that Langholm is and continues to be one of the council’s priority areas.

He said this had nothing to do with the Borderlands Placeprogramme. It was based on quantitative measures, not qualitative, and was “useless”.

He said: “It’s a Borderlands report, based on criteria developed by Cumbria County Council.

“It’s seen as unworkable by our council because of COVID-19 and the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Langholm will not be forgotten about.

“This report will keep coming back because we don’t know yet the full effect of the virus on our communities.”

Councillor Ronnie Tait said: “As stated in my letter to the newspaper last week, the situation will be closely monitored.”

Denis Male, Langholm Alliance chairman, told the E&L Advertiser: “After reading the report, which suggested Langholm was the town least in need of financial support in Dumfries and Galloway and  all other towns were more worthy candidates for Borderlands funding, I was heartened to find out this is not the case and Langholm is still a top priority for the council.

“It would have been a tragedy if the hard work undertaken by our town’s  organisations was not being recognised.

“I started to think that Langholm had made such a good job of rebuilding itself we were now about to be penalised for it, particularly when the alliance is close appointing its first community enterprise manager to start the hard work of delivering, with partners, the Langholm Community Plan.

“In my role I contacted our ward councillors and was delighted when Archie Dryburgh assured me Langholm was definitely one of the six priority areas for the council and the misleading Borderlands report, developed by Cumbria County Council, was not supported by our council.”

 
 
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