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When we started this process, we thought about our hometown and imagined seeing it decline year after year. We considered the impact of longstanding family businesses – who employ many of the town’s population – closing, our high street shops being vacated and our young people moving away as a result of a lack of sustainable jobs. We realised an urgent need for positive change – for the community, led by the community.

Langholm was once a thriving economy with a population of over 4,000. Decade after decade we have seen those numbers decrease to just over 2,000 today, with a significant portion of the population over 65 years old. Between 1960 and 1980 Langholm was at its economic peak with over 1,000 people employed by seven local businesses. These businesses are all now closed with the last major employer, Edinburgh Woollen Mill, moving its head office to Carlisle, further reducing local employment.

Despite this decline, there is a real sense of optimism within this close, hard-working community with the recognition that Langholm is uniquely placed to take advantage of the changing economic landscape and consumer demands, changing its focus to eco-tourism and creating a hub for small business start-ups.

The Muckle Toon is surrounded by underutilised natural assets including stunning countryside, rolling hills, rivers and forests, and is home to some of Scotland’s best-loved wildlife including red squirrels and hen harriers. The town also has a rich heritage and is the home of two famous sons: Hugh MacDiarmid, who gave the world joy through poetry, and Thomas Telford, who changed the landscape of Britain; not to mention a strong family connection of Neil Armstrong – the first man on the moon – which is, quite literally, out of this world. If you need any further persuasion about our town’s many assets, visit the Welcome to Langholm site, where you’ll learn why we’re still a force to be reckoned with.

Much of the built environment, infrastructure and land needed to create visitor attractions – and create future employment – is owned within the community and there is strong voluntary support to give Langholm a thriving, sustainable economy. Given this combination of circumstances, by 2030 Langholm will be a great place to live, visit and invest in.


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