THE first phase of planning to create a heritage park at Prestongrange is now under way.

East Lothian Council is working to transform the site, following an award from the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund last autumn.

The former miners’ bathhouse is now being transformed, with the planned works including the repair and refurbishment of the building providing a volunteer hub, future potential commercial and exhibition space, the construction of a new ‘engine shed’ to better develop and display the museum locomotive collection, as well as repairs to important structures and improvements to access around the site.

The project team are also exploring the potential of the former mine workings’ underground water on the site to provide low-carbon energy for heating buildings both at Prestongrange and in the surrounding communities.

The scheme is one of three projects planned for the town, with work also pencilled in for Preston Tower (see story at top of page) and the area surrounding the town’s war memorial.

Sharon Saunders, head of communities at East Lothian Council, welcomed the projects “to enhance much-loved local landmarks”.

She said: “All three areas have been in need of regeneration for some time.

“Through the work of our Lottery-funded Great Place project, there are plans to link the three sites with others in the area as part of a wider heritage network.

“It’s all about maximising the potential of the area and I’m sure it will be a great benefit to the local community.

“Local heritage sites like these link people to their place and community.

“Through investment and by working in partnership with communities, we can also provide significant opportunities for reducing local inequalities through opportunities for high-quality training and education, creating visitor attractions that benefit the local economy, and providing work for the local construction sector.

“East Lothian Council is a leader in heritage-led regeneration in Scotland, and by working closely in partnership with our local communities we continue to successfully secure and allocate significant external funding for our area.

“The combined external investment across these projects exceeds £2.3m for Preston Seton Gosford, and follows the recent announcement of £1.13m for a Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme in Dunbar town centre.”