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Go ahead for Old School to be community hub

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Annan and Eskdale
Go ahead for Old School to be community hub

COUNCILLORS have voted in favour of Langholm Old School being converted into a community hub for the town.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is set hand over the former primary school building – valued at £100,000 – to Langholm Alliance in a community asset transfer deal for £1.

This move was unanimously agreed at Annandale and Eskdale area committee last Wednesday, however it is still to be signed and sealed by the council’s finance committee.

Annandale East and Eskdale Councillor Archie Dryburgh praised the work of the community organisation behind the takeover bid, and proposed that the council hand over ownership without any conditions.

He said: “The Langholm Alliance has done a lot of hard work on this, and the school is part of the community plan.

“Groups are starting to work together in Langholm, which is really good.

“Because one of the issues I had when I first became a member was the amount of groups in Langholm that didn’t get on with each other.

“Now they’re starting to work together on a cohesive plan going forward – and the school is a massive part of that.”

The old school building had been deemed surplus to requirements by the council, which prompted the Alliance to draw up ambitious plans to turn it into a “community-owned hub for wellbeing, community resilience, and creativity.”

Members of Langholm Alliance argued that a discount of £99,999 is proportionate due to the level of social value and economic benefit they feel will be created for the local community by the takeover.

A council report on the matter states: “Langholm Alliance has a vision that by 2030 Langholm will be an even better place for people to stay, work and visit.

“Their objectives are: the advancement of health, advancement of community development, advancement of the arts, heritage, culture and science, the provision of recreational facilities and the advancement of environmental protection or improvement.

“The Alliance has recognised a need for a physical space to allow many of the aspirations of the community plan to be realised and has identified the Langholm Old School as being the catalyst for fulfilling their vision – creating a vibrant community-owned hub for well-being, community resilience and creativity.”

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