Response 100162199

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What we want for the South of Scotland

1. Do you agree with our ambition outlined?

Please select one item
Ticked Yes
No
Don't know
Please explain your answer.
The key to sustainable & reversing the decline in rural towns & villages is creation is sustainable jobs both skilled and unskilled. Without this these communities will continue to decline as young people move away in search of work.

2. What would you like to see for the South of Scotland?

What would you like to see for the South of Scotland?
A sound 5 year plan & the necessary investment & infrastructure to encourage firms to locate in the area. This includes better transport links, fast broadband speeds and improved mobile phone coverage.

Ambitions for the new South of Scotland Enterprise

3. What are your ambitions for the future economic success of the South of Scotland?

What are your ambitions for the future economic success of
Ensuring their is enough work & opportunity in the area to encourage our young people to stay. They can only do this if there are sufficient job opportunities & in my view this is the only thing that will halt social decline. In the past months in Langholm alone, Border Fine Arts has closed, Edinburgh Woollen Mill has announced that it intends to re-locate to Carlisle, RBS has announced it is closing the Langholm Branch, the Art Gallery has closed and 2 Hotels are up for sale. These are all local jobs lost or potentially lost.

I will be interested to hear what you intend to do to help provide work opportunities in the area

The economic context of the South of Scotland

4. What are the strengths you would like to see the Agency build on?

What are the strengths you would like to see the Agency
Rail links - I would like to see the Borders Railway extended to Carlisle, passing through Langholm. One of the barriers to developing my own business, the Buccleuch Centre Theatre is that there is no public transport to Carlisle or other Border towns when shows finish at around 10pm as the last bus is 9pm.

Tourism is under developed in the area, much more could be made of events like the Common Riding and Muckletoon Adventure Festival.

5. What are the economic challenges you would like to see the Agency address?

What are the economic challenges you would like to see the
Providing the right conditions for firms to move to the area instead of away from it

Potential Activities for the South of Scotland Enterprise

6. What currently works well in the South of Scotland?

What currently works well in the South of Scotland?
There's a great sense of community & support for more vulnerable people. The education system works well & teaching standards are high. We simply need to encourage more employers to come to the area & establish thriving businesses. This may need to be by introducing preferential planning, grants and other incentives.

7. What would you add or take away from the potential activities that the Agency could carry out across the three areas:

a) drive forward the economy?
All the things you outline are good stuff. I would not like for this to become yet another talking shop - it needs to be properly funded and get real results.

8. What would you prioritise as the key areas of activity for the Agency?

What would you prioritise as the key areas of activity for the
Job creation
Transport Links
mobile phone coverage
broadband coverage

9. What specific things could the Agency do to help you, your business, your sector or your community?

What specific things could the Agency do to help you, your
Bring work to the area & reverse the decline of Langholm. It has great people, a great community spirit and no work. We desperately need to establish it as a place businesses want to be before it is too late.

Effective boundaries

10. What could the Agency do outwith its boundaries working with other local authorities or with agencies like Highlands and Islands Enterprise to support specific projects which benefit the South of Scotland and with national agencies?

What could the Agency do outwith its boundaries working
I can't comment on this. As an observation I would say that there seem to be a lot of government bodies all talking about this and I have no idea who is supposed to do what. Perhaps combining up all these different bodies into a cohesive whole with a single view & matching budget would be a more effective way of operating.

Location of the new Agency

11. Which option, either from the list above or your own suggestion, do you think offers the best way to ensure the Agency is accessible to all across the South of Scotland?

Which option, either from the list above or your own
I would like to see this organisation as lean as possible therefore the digital option is most appealing. We do not need another bureaucratic organisation and vast amounts of paperwork to complete to get anything done

12. Which criteria should be used in reaching a decision about the location of the Agency?

Which criteria should be used in reaching a decision about
Why not Langholm or somewhere else rural & declining? You would at least be among the people you are trying to help, and just being there would send a message to other organisations and provide some real jobs. You would be a good reason for improved connectivity and transport links also.

13. If you were to use the services of this Agency, what factors are important to you in terms of reaching it?

you were to use the services of this Agency, what factors are important to you in terms of reaching it?
Digital connectivity

14. What sort of people should be on the Board of the Agency and what sorts of skills and expertise should they have?

What sort of people should be on the Board of the Agency
Business people with a track record of delivery & success. Definitely not local government or third sector types

Other issues

15. We know that young people are less likely to stay in or move to the South of Scotland than they are other parts of the country. Do you have any comments on things the Agency could do to meet the interests of children and young people?

We know that young people are less likely to stay in or move
There's loads of things for young people to do & get involved in in Langholm, it's great place to grow up. Most of them don't really want to leave the area but they have to earn a living & they can't do it here.

16. In delivering opportunity and growth in the South of Scotland, how can the Agency:

In delivering opportunity and growth in the South of Scotland, how can the Agency:
Discrimination is not really an issue here, it's the most inclusive place I have ever lived in and a great community. Perhaps our community could be used as a model for places where discrimination does exist?

18. We want to make sure that the Agency works effectively with a wide range of key stakeholders/partner agencies to ensure that inclusive growth also enables positive social and environmental outcomes. Do you have any comments on how this should work in practice?

We want to make sure that the Agency works effectively with a
Don't get side tracked by peripheral issues - you need to concentrate of job creation as 1st, 2nd & 3rd priorities

20. Is there anything else you wish to say about the operation of the Agency?

Is there anything else you wish to say about the operation of
Please don't make us do any more paperwork!

About you

Are you responding as an individual or an organisation?

Please select one item
(Required)
Ticked Individual
Organisation

What is your organisation?

Organisation
The Buccleuch Centre