Funding has now been secured for the second phase of restoration works at historic Preston Tower in Prestonpans.
The project will see a number of improvements at the late medieval towerhouse in Prestonpans - which was originally constructed in the 15th century and then repaired and extended upwards in the 17th century – and nearby doocot.
The first stage of the project started recently, with a focus on improving access and encouraging more people to visit in future, while contributing to local regeneration.
It involves the restoration of the doocot and the installation of new architectural lighting and new interpretation/information boards, developed in collaboration with the local community.
Archaeological investigations have begun with the careful lifting of turf, which will be reinstated when finished.
Due to evidence of protected species at the site, the project is being delivered in two phases.
The project, which is expected to cost up to £1,068,083, is being supported by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund and Place Based Investment Programme. It is being progressed by East Lothian Council in collaboration with building owners the National Trust for Scotland and with the support of the Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership, and the National Lottery Heritage-funded Great Place Project.
Groves Raines Architects lead a team of conservation experts on behalf of East Lothian Council.
Councillor Jim Goodfellow, East Lothian Council’s Cabinet Spokesperson for Community Wellbeing, said: “Following the start of restoration works, I’m very pleased to announce that further funding has now been secured. This is an exciting project to enhance a much-loved local landmark, which was identified as a local priority by the community. The works will maximise the potential of the site.
“The project involves carrying out repairs to the tower and nearby doocot, as well as making improvements to walls around the tower. The priority is to enable safe access inside parts of the buildings, whilst also improving the interpretation and understanding of the buildings to help shine a light on their local and national significance. It is also hoped that the site can be linked with others in the area as part of a wider heritage network.
“This is a great example of the council and local community working together in partnership and I’m very grateful to everyone for their support. We’re very keen to involve as many people from the local area in the project as possible, and we’d like to hear about how people use the gardens now and what they’d like to be able do there in the future.”
There will be feedback boxes and comment cards in Prestonpans Community Centre, the Pennypit Centre, and Prestonpans and Port Seton Libraries or people can email email@example.com
Comments can also be made via the Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership Facebook page and, from 2nd–8th August, council officers, volunteers and consultants will be onsite to gather views in person.
DJ Johnston-Smith, of Prestonpans Community Council, said: “Prestonpans Community Council is absolutely delighted to learn that East Lothian Council officers have successfully secured further funding from the Scottish Government for the planned second phase of repair and restoration on Preston Tower. The confirmation that this unique building will not just be made safe and secure for future generations to enjoy from the outside but that access inside the Tower itself will finally be restored to the public, is enormously welcome news indeed.
“We look forward to building on the slowly evolving relationship struck up in recent months with the Tower's owners, the National Trust for Scotland, and the site's current guardians, East Lothian Council. A successful and sustainable partnership of equals, building upon a foundation laid during this carefully targeted financial investment in a beloved built heritage site, will undoubtedly return significant social, financial and community wellbeing dividends that will positively benefit both Prestonpans and the wider county beyond for many years to come.”