South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has welcomed a decision by Buccleuch Estates to delay the sale of the Langholm Moor to allow a community bid to buy part of all of the land.

In a reply to Colin Smyth MSP, Executive Director Benny Higgins informed the MSP that Buccleuch Estates would delay putting the Langholm Moor on the open market until June 2020.

A consultation on the sale of the around 25,000 acres of the Borders Estate closed at the end of June this year. Local communities and Colin Smyth MSP called on Buccleuch Estates to take steps to assist in a community purchase of the land.

Colin Smyth said, “This is a welcome decision by Buccleuch Estates and I applaud them for listening to local calls for a community buy out to be facilitated. The delay in putting the Langholm Moor on the open market will allow local communities to develop a bid to take part or all of the land under community ownership. This would be a huge opportunity for local people to protect the natural beauty of their surroundings and create opportunities for the community. I will be pressing for support from the Community Land Fund for any bid made. Too often community land buyouts are associated with the highlands. We have to ensure that the opportunities they present as a result of the previous government’s land reform back are fully pursued here in the south of Scotland.

This is a very exciting opportunity for Langholm and the surrounding area and I look forward to supporting local groups in any way I can to develop a successful bid.”

Colin Smyth has submitted a motion to the Scottish Parliament to welcome this opportunity for the communities of Langholm and Newcastleton.

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