A FIXED location for the Battle of Prestonpans Living History Centre is looking likely as a memorandum of understanding (MoU) is signed.

The Battle of Prestonpans 1745 Heritage Trust signed the document with Hargreaves Services, the company building the new town on the site of the former opencast mine at Blindwells, which agreed that a detailed assessment would be made to accommodate the centre as part of the town.

The new town is one out of three locations that the trust – which has launched a petition calling for the new town to be named Charlestoun after Bonnie Prince Charlie – has identified as a possibility for the centre, with the other two potential sites falling north of the battlefield and one to the south-east.

The memorandum of understanding states that “constructive initial discussions between Hargreaves and the trust have identified the possibility of the living history centre being located in Charlestoun’s town centre. This MoU is intended to provide a framework for exploring further, and ultimately achieving, that objective”.

Although the memorandum references the new town as Charlestoun, there has been no official naming of the prospective town yet, as East Lothian Council is to ask school pupils from the surrounding area to help pick the new name, though the council will have the final say.

Gordon Prestoungrange from the trust said: “Such a location is on the nationally designated battlefield, indeed on the famous Riggonhead Defile, so its presence there would do proper justice to our extraordinary heritage.

“But more than that, the location of the centre at Charlestoun affords a magnificent opportunity to enhance the sense of place for the incoming community of many thousands over the next three decades. And it will be home not just to the battle story set in the broader Jacobite context but home for the internationally acclaimed Prestonpans and Scottish Diaspora Tapestries.

“It’s clearly all very ambitious but then so was the Prince when he landed on Eriskay in 1745 with just seven supporters! He raised an army in six weeks and took Edinburgh before defeating the British Army at Prestonpans.

“International support has been forthcoming over the years but even more following the recent Heritage Lottery supported studies of the best way forward for the trust. And it must be said that all discussions with Hargreaves and their initial concepts for the town centre where the trust’s centre would be located have been inspirational.”

The memorandum of understanding is not a legally binding document but an agreement that the parties involved will “undertake to work together to achieve the establishment of the living history centre and the commissioning of an equestrian sculpture of Prince Charles Edward Stuart”.