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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Efforts stepped up to market Longtown

Efforts are being stepped up to market Longtown to developers and boost its financial fortunes.

Paul Brown photo
Paul Brown

A guide is being drawn up which council chiefs hope will help to lure investors to the area.

People are being urged to comment on the move and share any ideas for how the town can be better promoted and improved.

The draft Longtown Rural Masterplan has been pulled together by Carlisle City Council as part of work that will heavily influence what’s built and where throughout the district until 2030.

People are nervously waiting to discover the fate of the Ministry of Defence ammunition depot which is its biggest employer. The ministry has proposed closing the complex and transferring its operations, potentially with the loss of about 300 jobs.

As part of the new drive the area’s other assets are strongly highlighted.

The document states: “Longtown has the largest sheep auction market in England.

“This is strategically very significant for livestock farmers in a wide area.

“Auction day is also important for socialising for the livestock community.”

On the town’s potential, it adds: “Longtown is a good location for tourists looking at border history.

“There is a great deal of history around Longtown, which lies close to the location of the Battle of the Solway Moss, near Arthuret Church.

“It is also a base from which the Scottish side of the Solway Firth can be explored. Longtown makes a good starting point for walks along the River Esk and through surrounding countryside.”

The document, however, concedes that places where visitors can stay overnight are limited.

Chris Hardman, the city council’s planning manager, said that Longtown was one of several communities being examined by the authority.

“We recently managed to get some finance from the Department of Communities and Local Government to work on a plan looking at the existing settlements,” he told The Cumberland News.

“We are working through the settlements to work out what the future needs may be.”

The council is looking for responses from the public that suggested future needs for the town.

Alongside this it is also interested in concerns that people have.

“Some will filter through to our local plan process,” he said.

Mr Hardman suggested that one of the biggest issues that could affect Longtown in the future is what happens to the former Lochinvar School site.

The school closed in 2008 and much of the area has been unused since.

Copies of the draft document have also been made available to members of Arthuret parish council.

Paul Brown, its chairman, urged people to make their voices heard.

He said: “I would encourage everybody to contribute as much as possible.

“If they live in the community, it is to do with them so people need to have a look and have their say.”

People can make their comments to members of the parish council, who will discuss the masterplan at their next meeting.

Contact parish clerk Karen Johnston on 01228 791739.

More details are also available by visiting www.carlisle.gov.uk.

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