Dalkeith regeneration projects pick up top awards
Two Midlothian regeneration projects have picked up top awards in the prestigious Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2017.
Partnership and place
Dalkeith Corn Exchange Restoration won an award in the partnership category, while Dalkeith Town Centre Heritage Regeneration Project was recognised in the place category. The awards were presented at a ceremony in Edinburgh last Wednesday (November 8).
Built in 1853, Dalkeith Corn Exchange was once one of the largest and busiest in Scotland. By 2007 the building was vacant and in disrepair. Midlothian Council worked over several years to generate interest in the building and a partnership was formed with Melville Housing Association and Dalkeith Business Renewal to develop a viable scheme. The project involved the exterior restoration of the building and an internal design that successfully retains key historic features. The Corn Exchange, which reopened in 2016, is now the headquarters for Melville Housing Association, with additional offices for rent, a community meeting space and the new Dalkeith Museum.
Town centre improvement
Midlothian Council and Dalkeith Business Renewal also formed a partnership in 2007 to tackle the decline of Dalkeith town centre. The project secured over £4million in investment in the town to restore 28 buildings, renew 10 shopfronts and improve public spaces, including the restoration of the Burns monument. The success of the project has resulted in a similar project being implemented in Gorebridge, with a third planned for Penicuik.
Midlothian Council’s cabinet member for communities, councillor Russell Imrie, congratulated all those involved in developing and implementing the restoration and improvement schemes.
“I am delighted that these projects have received well-deserved national recognition at this year’s Quality in Planning Awards,” said councillor Imrie. “They are an excellent example of how numerous financial, legal and construction challenges can be overcome to produce attractive buildings and public spaces which benefit the whole community. The Corn Exchange project also shows how sensitive conversion of a historic building can retain historic features while at the same time making it appropriate for modern office and public use.”
New approach to regeneration
The council’s depute provost, councillor Margot Russell, attended last week’s awards ceremony:
“The Dalkeith improvement project marked a new approach to regeneration in Midlothian,” said councillor Russell. “It showed that there was huge interest in the community in getting involved in the regeneration project, which helped lead to the commitment to make people our main focus. The community was involved throughout, and I am delighted for them, and all the individuals and organisations who worked so hard to make the projects a success.”