A NEW children’s play area in Lewisvale Park has scooped Musselburgh Conservation Society’s 2017 Design Award.

Retired Scottish judge Lord Cameron of Lochbroom, the society’s patron and a former Lord Advocate, presented the annual accolade to representatives from Musselburgh Area Partnership and East Lothian Council last Friday.

The area partnership and council worked together to design and fund the new facility for toddlers at a cost of about £37,000.

The runner-up, which was two votes behind the winning play area, was the refurbishment of former Levenhall Post Office and store into Levenhall Village Stores.

In third place was 29 Edinburgh Road, a private house built on the sea wall at Fisherrow Sands.

Other contenders were the new classroom extension to Pinkie St Peter’s Primary School, the bus stop improvements on Musselburgh High Street and the new Mill House housing on Eskmills Road, behind Tesco’s car park.

The play area project followed public surveys about amenities in the park which was carried out by the area partnership. Forty-one per cent of respondents suggested the children’s facilities needed improved, so the area partnership allocated funding to provide new, modern play equipment at the site.

It was designed by the council’s amenity services team with input from early years services and East Lothian Play Association. The old play area was removed and new fencing was also installed.

Alan Armour, conservation society chairman, said: “The play area is a very worthy winner. I’m delighted that our members voted for it.

“Our award usually goes to new buildings but it’s good to recognise the quality of design that goes into making a successful new play area.”

Iain Clark, area partnership chairman, said: “Musselburgh Area Partnership is delighted that our partnership endeavours to make our community a great place to live, work and play have been recognised. The fact that ideas for projects come from the community makes it even more valuable.

“This project was aimed at improving facilities for our younger community members and we are delighted it has been seeing great use by families. Lewisvale Park is a beautiful park and hopefully this addition adds to a fantastic asset in the Honest Toun.”

Stuart Baxter, area partnership manager, added: “It is great to see a project that originated from the community come to fruition and for the project to receive a prestigious design award.

“I would like to thank all those who helped bring this project to reality with a special thanks to the staff at East Lothian Council’s amenity services for all their assistance in this project.”

Stuart Pryde, the council’s principal amenity officer, said: “The refurbishment of the play area is a positive example of the benefits of the area partnership structure.

“The play facilities in Lewisvale Park had reached the end of their operational life. Recognising the importance of this amenity to the local community, Musselburgh Area Partnership agreed to allocate some of its capital budget towards the purchase of new equipment, which the council’s amenity services team installed at no additional cost.

“Early feedback from the community suggests this project has been well received and recognition of the quality of the finished project by Musselburgh Conservation Society is an added and much-appreciated bonus.

“Further improvements are ongoing within the park to freshen up and improve the soft landscape and discussions are ongoing to try and secure funding to replace the senior play facility, which has also had to be removed because of its condition.”

The Design Award, now its its 26th year, is given annually to mark the project which its members think has made the biggest contribut?ion to design quality in Musselburgh and Inveresk over the year.

The winning plaque is cast each year by Dove Holes Foundry in Derbyshire and this year’s will be sited at the new play area.