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Harper Macleod continues to lead the way in community land buyouts in Scotland with £3.8m Langholm deal

Harper Macleod's Modern Rural Economy team is delighted to have advised on the largest community buyout of land in the south of Scotland.

The firm's team advised the Langholm Initiative, a community body and charity, on its purchase of 5200 acres and six properties around the town from Buccleuch Estates.

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Led by Partner Calum MacLeod, supported by Associate Tom Gray and a team of specialists throughout the firm, Harper Macleod advised on the conveyancing aspects of the transaction, as well as a unique funding package which was backed by three secured lenders.

Calum MacLeod said: "Harper Macleod were delighted to advise the Langholm Initiative on this exciting community buy out. It is a fantastic opportunity for the local community and it was a real privilege for us to be involved in what was a pioneering community project in the south of Scotland."

Harper Macleod was asked to support the Langholm Initiative on the transaction having acted in more than 15 community buyouts and countless other purchases of land and buildings for community groups over the past decade. 

Calum MacLeod added: "Until now most of the community buyouts have taken place in the Highlands and Islands, but hand-in-hand with land reform policies, we are seeing the development of community ownership across Scotland and landowners, such as Buccleuch Estates, are becoming much more mindful, and alive to  the concept of a sale to the community."

The aim of the Langholm Initiative is to help regenerate the area, develop tourism (in keeping with the natural environment) and play a part in Scotland's efforts to address climate change. Among other things the deal will allow the community to move forward with plans to create the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.

Margaret Pool, who chairs the Langholm Initiative charity, said: "Together we've achieved something which once seemed impossible, and we can celebrate as a new era begins for this special land with which our community has such a deep and long-standing connection.

After Buccleuch Estates announced its intention to sell land in its Borders Estate in 2019, a community campaign was launched to raise funds to purchase the land.

The Scottish Land Fund, South of Scotland Enterprise, The John Muir Trust and the Carman Family Foundation were among those to contribute to the fund, and along with other donations the agreed price of £3.8 million was reached.