4 refurbished homes
The Eskdale Foundation
- Town centre regeneration
- Combatting economic decline and industrial departure
- Fuel poverty
- Repurposing a long-term vacant building
- Supporting other regeneration efforts
SOSCH began its partnership with the Eskdale Foundation in 2017 when the Foundation acquired the former Police Station from the Dumfries and Galloway Council via asset transfer. The building had been vacant and unused for 15 years when the community decided to repurpose it for affordable housing. The Eskdale Foundation held open events in the building, and, in combination with a SOSCH-supported Housing Needs and Demand Assessment, subsequently identified family homes, housing for older residents, and fuel poverty as existing needs. This informed the redevelopment and the resulting homes include one 3 bedroom home, one 2 bedroom, and two 1 bedroom homes (including one accessible ground floor home). 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.
Funding for the Old Police Station project came from a wide range of stakeholders. In addition to the initial asset transfer, Dumfries and Galloway Council made a capital contribution with the Town Centre Living Fund, a ring-fenced second homes tax. The planning and delivery of the project has also been supported by funding from the Scottish Government’s Rural Housing Fund, Scottish Land Fund, South of Scotland Enterprise, Architectural Heritage Fund and local windfarm community benefit funds.
SOSCH supported The Eskdale Foundation’s renovation of the Old Police Station throughout the five-year project period: including the Housing Needs and Demand Assessment, project management of the design and construction team, developed a comprehensive funding package, submitted grant applications, and managed housing allocations. The redevelopment of the property was overseen by John Gilbert Architects, leading on a wider professional design team, and delivered by Cubby Construction.
The Old Police Station provides four families with permanently affordable, warm, safe, and high-quality homes. The homes allow four households to return/relocate to Langholm with secure tenancies and provide long-term opportunities to live and work in the area. Additionally, the project brought an empty building in the centre of town back into productive use, increasing civic pride, supporting the emerging tourism industry in Langholm, and contributing to local sustainability. The talented project team restored the Old Police Station’s original features and preserved its style, while also modernising the building to maximise energy efficiency and comfort for tenants.
“This has been a great effort by the Eskdale Foundation working in partnership with the South of Scotland Community Housing and others. It was a great project to have been involved in!”Ronnie Tait,
Vice-Chair of The Eskdale Foundation
The repurposing of The Old Police Station sits within wider town centre regeneration strategies and partnerships in Langholm. The Eskdale Foundation already owns four separate properties for elder residents at Greenbank, bringing their total ownership to 8 residential properties, and a nearby Charity Shop. The Foundation are working with SOSCH to undertake business and succession planning in preparation for future activities now that the Police Station homes are complete.
The Old Police Station won the 2022 Scottish Empty Homes ‘Best Old Wreck’ Award, recognising the role that community-led housing and community ownership can play in bringing empty homes and vacant buildings back into use. 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.
SOSCH commissioned Open Aye to produce a short film on the Old Police Station. You can view the film here.