MP and MSP react to EWM letter

 

A SENIOR executive at Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) has predicted a proposed heritage centre at Langholm could attract a large number of visitors.

Jason Anderson, managing director of the company, was responding to a letter of deep concern from local MP David Mundell and constituency MSP Oliver Mundell about the decision to move the company HQ from Langholm. 

Both politicians have now called on company chiefs to add far more detail about any proposed investment they have in the future of the town where the business was founded.

In the joint-letter to EWM chief executive Philip Day, David and Oliver Mundell stated the company had a duty to acknowledge the loyalty and support they had received from the Langholm community for generations.

They pointed out that the move would be distressing and disruptive to employees living in the Langholm area and have a devastating impact on the town's economy.

In a response to the letter, Mr Anderson stated: "We are currently consulting with our employees to make sure this process is handled as smoothly as possible and focus remains on their well-being."

Following the recent confirmation of the decision, EWM pointed to Langholm's role in the company's 'history and heritage' and revealed that they planned to retain their Waverley Mills buildings.

An EWM statement added: "We have ambitions to turn the building into a heritage centre which celebrates the role that both Edinburgh Woollen Mill and textiles has played, and continues to play, in Scotland."

In the latest letter to David and Oliver Mundell, Mr Anderson suggested the heritage centre would "attract more footfall to the area" than the current HQ.

He continued: "I am hopeful that we will develop this vision for Langholm together over the coming weeks and months.''

The transfer of the HQ would move 190 jobs from Langholm to new premises more than 20 miles away in Carlisle.

David Mundell said: "I will judge EWM on what they deliver by way of a heritage centre and will certainly be holding their feet to the fire on their promise to deliver it."

Meanwhile, Oliver Mundell said: "Anything that boosts the economy and creates jobs in Langholm would be a good thing but given EWM's track record we will need to see investment before we believe it.

"They owe the town an apology and actions would certainly speak louder than words.

"As well as keeping up the pressure on EWM we need to see support from Dumfries and Galloway Council in the form of transitional rates relief for existing businesses which will be badly affected by the move."