Prestonpans Civic Square has been honoured at the Scottish Design Awards 2023, claiming a gold architecture award and the Chair’s Award for Architecture.

The awards were held at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Glasgow on June 29, organised by planning magazine Urban Realm.

The square was celebrated in the regenerative architecture category, which brought together a variety of projects from across the country that saw existing structures brought back to life.

The regeneration works at the Civic Square began in October 2021, with a focus on repairing the surrounding walls, renewing paving and improving seating, and providing new space for commemoration and local heritage interpretation.

The square was originally unveiled in spring 1922 and it had been hoped that the revamped site would be ready for its centenary but this was not possible.

The plans were supported by the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund following a design competition that involved a judging panel from Prestonpans Community Council and the Royal British Legion.

Rankinfraser Landscape Architecture was appointed by East Lothian Council to oversee the project.

The rejuvenated war memorial also saw the addition of names of those who had fallen in both world wars who were not previously commemorated at the site, including the first woman to be named on the memorial.

The research to find these names was undertaken by community council chairman DJ Johnston-Smith, who put in many hours to identify those whose deaths had not been recognised on the original memorial.

The community council shared its delight that the hard work to rejuvenate the square had been rewarded.

Dr Johnston-Smith said: “The community council is absolutely delighted that our refreshed Civic Square has won these two significant accolades.

“Despite some unexpected delays, due to Covid-19 and other factors, the end result has been well worth the wait and now provides a wonderful, fitting setting for our beloved war memorial, by William Birnie Rhind, that we restored in 2017/18, and the new memorial to the town’s formerly forgotten fallen, carved by Gardner Molloy, that has just been installed.

“We want to thank the Scottish Government for funding this much-needed regeneration project and East Lothian Council for overseeing and supporting it.

“Also Rankinfraser for the overall vision they created for the square, and heritage consultant Lyndsey Clark and artist Stephen Kirkpatrick for all of their in-depth work on the heritage interpretation scheme.

“Our thanks also to the many, many other craftspeople, council officers and local residents who have been involved in regenerating the Civic Square over the last few years in a variety of ways.

“We hope that this marvellous refurbished civic space will now become a catalyst for further positive interventions along this urban stretch of the beautiful East Lothian coastline.”

John McMillan, East Lothian Provost, added: “This is a very well-deserved double win for the Civic Square project.

“I’m delighted for everyone involved and would like to record my congratulations.

“Their vision for the site to be a focal point for High Street, linked to other heritage-led regeneration activity in the local area, is inspirational.

“Local people, including the community council, have played a pivotal role in the initiative, which will be appreciated by residents and visitors for many years to come.”