Over 2017-18, SURF is undertaking a feasibility study exercise in the Dumfries and Galloway town of Langholm to explore the potential of its becoming a new Alliance for Action programme site.

This page features information on the Langholm feasibility study process, and will be updated as it progresses.


To maximise productive value from its Alliance for Action programme, SURF seeks to ensure that there is a balanced portfolio of places in the programme. This selected range of contacts is intended to provide transferable lessons to comparable settings and activities in the rest of Scotland, from high-density city neighbourhoods to small island towns.

Langholm is one of six areas in SURF’s Alliance for Action for 2017-18

In 2017, SURF and the Scottish Government agreed that the programme could benefit from the addition of a semi-rural site in the south of Scotland.

Subsequent conversations between SURF and Dumfries & Galloway Council indicated that the small town of Langholm in the east of its region might present a good opportunity for SURF to explore opportunities for responding to contemporary post-industrial challenges in a relatively isolated, rural town context.

SURF agreed to undertake a six month feasibility study in Langholm, between September 2017 and March 2018, to explore its regeneration-related challenges and opportunities, and the suitability for introducing the Alliance for Action model there.

2017-18 Feasibility Study

SURF’s Alliance for Action feasibility study in Langholm has five stages:

Stage 1 – Project Scoping: including work planning, information gathering, initial stakeholder engagements and a public workshop event.

Stage 2 – Research: further exploring the local context, including through the production of a statistical profile and a review of current and proposed local projects.

Comment postcards are among the channels used by SURF to gather local views

Stage 3 – Developing Alliance Options: engaging further with local stakeholders to investigate Alliance for Action model viability and opportunities.

Stage 4 – Report and Recommendations: testing Alliance for Action development options with potential users, clarifying deliverability and presenting a draft report to local stakeholders.

Stage 5 – Completion: establishing a process for delivering an Alliance for Action strategy in Langholm, pending stakeholder and partner agreement.

A detailed feasibility study plan is available for download:

SURF Alliance for Action Langholm Feasibility Study Plan

November 2017 Public Gathering

As part of the above process, SURF organised a public event in Langholm’s Buccleuch Centre on the evening of 23 November 2017 to conclude Stage 1 of the feasibility study.

Langholm residents were invited to a public event in November 2017

Thirty participants representing community groups, businesses and public agencies were in attendance to hear explanatory information from SURF and to contribute their views on the town’s regeneration challenges and opportunities, and the potential of Langholm becoming part of SURF’s Alliance for Action programme.

The main subjects raised in open debate concerned:

  • Langholm’s economy;
  • Opportunities for promoting tourism;
  • The town’s relationship with Dumfries & Galloway, the Scottish Borders and Cumbria;
  • Land ownership and use;
  • Transport;
  • Housing and infrastructure;
  • Community empowerment;
  • The role SURF might play in supporting the town’s future development.

An outcomes report from this event is available for download:

SURF Event Report – Langholm Alliance for Action – Nov 2017

Feasibility Study – Final Report

The Langholm feasibility study process concluded in May 2018. A final report was presented to local stakeholders in a public meeting in the Buccleuch Centre and is available for download at the following link:

SURF Langholm Alliance for Action Feasibility Study – Final Report

Land, housing and tourism were identified in the feasibility study as key local issues

The feasibility study recommended that Langholm would benefit practically from becoming a full Alliance for Action site for the 2018-21 programme period. We are currently discussing local development options with Langholm-based stakeholders and our national Alliance for Action partners.

Local Facilitator

The response to the feasibility study indicated widespread local demand for Langholm to become the fifth Alliance for Action programme area.

In Autumn 2018, SURF appointed Peter Renwick as its part-time Langholm Facilitator to support local development activity. Peter, who has a background in project management, arts programming, town centre development and tourism marketing, will initially be employed for two years .

The support the Local Facilitator will provide to local stakeholders be informed by the outcomes of the feasibility study, which identified tourism, economic diversification, and enhanced collaborations between community led activity as priority development areas.

Local Mailing List

SURF operates a Langholm stakeholders mailing list, providing regular activity updates on local Alliance for Action programme developments. If you would like to be added to this mailing list, please contact Christopher Murray at SURF on christopher@surf.scot or 0141 440 6391.

Further Information

Please contact SURF’s Policy Manager, Derek Rankine, if you have any comments or queries about SURF’s Alliance for Action in Langholm:

  • Email: derek@surf.scot
  • Tel: 0141 440 6393
  • Post: Derek Rankine, SURF, Orkney Street Enterprise Centre, 18-20 Orkney St, Glasgow G51 2BX

For information on other SURF Alliance for Action sites, please click on the left hand menu bar links under Resources > Programmes > Alliance for Action.

Aberdeen City Council
Clyde Gateway
Creative Scotland
Dundee Partnership
Edinburgh City Council
Glasgow City Council
Heritage Lottery Fund
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Scottish Federation of Housing Associations
Scottish Government
Skills Development Scotland
Wheatley Group