South Scotland

Textile town Langholm aims to reverse 'downward trajectory'

Langholm Image copyright Billy McCrorie
Image caption Langholm was home to the large-scale textiles industry for many years

An ambitious strategy is being launched to reverse the "downward trajectory" of a former textiles heartland.

Langholm suffered the latest of a string of setbacks last year when Edinburgh Woollen Mill moved its headquarters to Carlisle.

A 10-year community plan aims to revive its fortunes and make it an attractive place to live, work and stay.

It is based on key themes including business development, tourism, arts and culture, and health and social care.

The Langholm Alliance - which put it together - said the town still had a lot to offer.

Spokesman Peter Renwick said the time was right to put the plan in place.

"We think it's really vital, particularly at this stage," he said.

"Langholm has been on a slow downward trajectory in terms of employment, in terms of population.

"Really what this represents is a whole range of interested parties and community organisations coming together to say this is how we're going to address it, this is how we are going to move forward."

Mr Renwick said one strand of the project would be to attract more visitors to the area.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The skills and spaces remain for smaller start-up businesses according to the Langholm Alliance

"We have recognised that actually Langholm is a great place to visit," he said.

"It sits in really enviable countryside, there's a whole range of outdoor pursuits which can be taken from there, it's got really interesting heritage - but it's not an area which has been well-developed.

"So the tourism group is looking at how to promote Langholm as a whole so it's developed as a tourism strategy rather than individual retailers and hoteliers each trying to do their bit separately."

Image copyright Google
Image caption Edinburgh Woollen Mill moved its headquarters from Langholm to Carlisle

It is hoped there can also be room for business to develop too.

"Traditionally Langholm has benefited from the big textile industry and recently, with the closure of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill headquarters, the last of those big industries left," said Mr Renwick.

However, he said there were still spaces and skills in the town which would allow smaller scale textiles firms to start businesses.

He said the strategy would look at ways to develop such ventures in what was a "really beautiful place to live".

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