South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has described the team behind plans to bring Langholm Moor into community ownership, as “history makers” after it was revealed that the South of Scotland’s largest community buyout is set to go ahead.
The comments come after it was confirmed that agreement has been reached between the Langholm Initiative and Buccleuch Estate for a £3.8m buyout of over 5,000 acres of the Langholm Moor.
Although this is less than the original £6m plan to purchase 10,500 acres of the 25,000 up for sale, the local MSP has welcomed the news that discussions will continue over the remaining 5,300 acres of land the community wish to take ownership of.
Commenting on the news Colin Smyth said: “This is a truly outstanding achievement by the team behind the bid and a fantastic day for the Eskdale community. Although I am sure they will be focused on the huge work that now lies ahead in turning their vision for Langholm Moor into a reality, they should take a moment to sit back and pat themselves on the back. This is the South of Scotland’s largest ever buyout and the community of Langholm really are history makers.
“We cannot underestimate the positive impact this could have on the local economy through eco-tourism and the boost it can give the local environment through better protection and enhancement of a site of special scientific interest.
“I am sure there will be some disappointment that it hasn’t been possible yet to reach the £6m needed to secure the target 10,500 acres but the timescale set by the Scottish Land Fund for a deal to be done or their £1m grant may not happen, was truly ridiculous. I think questions still need to be answered as to why the original bid of £3m to the fund was rejected and only £1m awarded, given how little the Fund has invested in the South of Scotland. But I am pleased that discussions will continue over the remaining 5,300 acres and I hope a deal can eventually be done to bring the whole target site under the ownership of the community.
“Too much of our land is still in the hands of far too few but thanks to this deal, we have made a small step in the direction of righting that wrong.”