Old Police Station community-led housing wins national empty homes award

The community-led restoration of the former Police Station in Langholm as affordable homes has won the “Best Old Wreck” category at the Scottish Empty Homes Awards.  The project is a partnership between community organisation, The Eskdale Foundation, and South of Scotland Community Housing (SOSCH).
SOSCH, Shaheena Din, Mike Staples, John Loudon
Photography for Orbit Communications by Colin Hattersley. (Left) Shaheena Din, National Project Manager for Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, (Centre) Mike Staples, Chief Executive, SOSCH, (Right) John Loudon of Auction House Scotland, sponsor of the 11th Scottish Empty Homes Awards.

The Scottish Empty Homes Awards took place in Edinburgh on 22nd March 2022, run by Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, an organisation funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by Shelter Scotland that exists to encourage Scotland’s approximately 43,000 long-term empty homes back into use.  The Old Police Station project was the winner in the “Best Old Wreck” category, reflecting the restoration of the long-term vacant building to bring two empty homes back into use and repurpose offices and cells to provide two further new homes.

The Eskdale Foundation and SOSCH completed the restoration of the former police station to provide community-owned affordable homes in 2021.  The project, under the guidance of John Gilbert Architects, has restored the high-profile empty town centre property to its former glory, including reinstatement of unique features.

The “Old Police Station”, which had been empty and disused for approximately 15 years, has been converted into four affordable homes for rent which are now occupied by residents with a local connection to Langholm.  SOSCH supported of Eskdale Foundation over a period of five years in order to plan the project and secure a funding package for the painstaking restoration of the building.  This work identified affordable housing as a key priority within a town that has faced significant economic challenge, contributing to the resilience and future sustainability of the local community and supporting other regeneration efforts. 

In addition the project was shortlisted in the Housing and Regeneration category of this year’s SURF Awards and was a winner at Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s “Let’s Live Local” awards in the Town Centre Living category.

You can visit our case study on the Old Police Station project here. You can read more about the Empty Homes Partnership Award here in Scottish Housing News.

We commissioned Open Aye to produce a filmed Case Study of The Old Police Station, which can be viewed here: