PLANS for a £5.7million tourist centre celebrating the Battle of Prestonpans to be sited at a mining museum have been shelved after it failed to win lottery funding – with the planned new town at Blindwells now mooted as an alternative venue.

The Battle of Prestonpans Heritage Trust had unveiled its proposal for the bathhouse at Prestongrange Museum, west of Prestonpans, which would have transformed the disused building into a tourism centre for the battle, as well as a home for the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry, Scottish Diaspora Tapestry and Scottish Battlefields Trust.

The plans for the historic building also included preserving part of the bathhouse with an exhibition of its history in the mining commuiity.

They were supported by local politicians, including East Lothian Council leader Councillor Willie Innes, whose administration set aside money to invest in Prestongrange Museum itself to support the new centre and improve the overall facilities at the site.

But the plans hinged on about £3million of funding coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and an application was submitted to it in December last year.

It is understood that HLF rejected the proposal amid concerns that additional funding into the already-established museum was not expected to be invested until after the new battle centre was up and running.

There was also a concern that the centre should be closer to the battle site itself – which surrounds the town’s Meadowmill area.

The battle trust is now looking into a new site for its multi-million pound centre and has already had discussions with the developers of Blindwells about the possibility of including the centre within the new development.

It would be a unique move to merge a centre celebrating the historical importance of a site with a new housing settlement.

Also understood to be under consideration as a possible home for the new centre is the former St Joseph’s School at Meadowmill, which is also next to the Blindwells site.

The school was purchased by East Lothian Council two years ago and houses Pathway, a children’s home, on part of its 6.3-hectare site.

A spokesman for the battle trust said: “Our project to restore the bathhouse at Prestongrange Museum did not receive funding but we have received constructive advice from HLF as to how to develop our proposal further as a first-class interpretative project.

“We shall certainly be taking this advice forward with HLF and more widely with VisitScotland and within our community to find the best solution for celebrating this important aspect of Prestonpans’ heritage and bringing clear benefits to our local economy, as soon as is feasible.

“We have briefed Willie Innes, Iain Gray MSP, Prestonpans Community Council vice-chairman Jimmy Yule and Iain Slater of Hargreaves [Blindwells developers] on the developing situation.”

The news comes as the Battle of Prestonpans Tapestry was unveiled at an exhibition in the Scottish Parliament’s Main Hall this week.

The tapestry is on show at Holyrood until July 20, before heading to France and Lorient’s Festival Interceltique in August.

East Lothian Council said it was disappointed that the bathhouse plans had fallen through.

A spokesperson said: “It’s unfortunate that the battle trust have to now consider alternative proposals.

“East Lothian Council officers have worked in partnership with the battle trust for a number of years on various proposals to house a battle centre and the tapestry at the museum site and were fully supportive of their bid to secure Heritage Lottery funding for development of the Pithead Baths building to a visitor attraction.

“The council is continuing to seek to develop a masterplan for this site which will of course include considerable community consultation and many of those involved with the battle trust will continue to play an invaluable role in the future development of this site.”