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All systems go for Langholm development

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By Abbey Morton
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All systems go for Langholm development

PLANS for a new social enterprise in Langholm have been given the green light.

The Stevenson Trust’s ambitious proposals to convert and change the use of the former Border Fine Arts premises have been signed off by the local authority.

A design and access statement for ‘Auld Langholm Station’, produced by Architects Plus, reveals the development will be themed around the heritage of Langholm and the surrounding area.

It proposes it will be made up of event, exhibition and demonstration areas; an artisan village for business start-up opportunities; studios and workshops for artists and craft workers; a quality food experience – including artisan baker, food hall and cafe; speciality retailing – with a focus on Made in Scotland products and from the south of Scotland in particular.

In addition, the plans include a landscaped courtyard and a craft brewery/distillery in the ‘Old Garage’.

It is planned that it will offer employment and business start-up opportunities for upwards of 25-30 people.

The statement reads: “This is an exciting opportunity to give the existing buildings a new, viable future following the closure of Border Fine Arts.

“The creation of a social enterprise by a local charity to deliver this project will ensure that the benefits are focussed on and accrue to the Langholm community.

“The physical location of the project, adjacent to the historic A7 means that not only Langholm but Auld Langholm Station will give travellers their first, or indeed last, ‘Taste of Scotland’.

“The focus on small artisan businesses may seem at odds with the more fashionable technology sector where startups are often in the spotlight. However, it was on this site that one man started up his figurine business in the 1970s and from it, Border Fine Arts grew into an international business employing several hundred people in Langholm, Carlisle and Penrith. Maybe lightning can strike twice!”

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