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Riddochhill, Blackburn, for which the architect was Reiach and Hall of Edinburgh. Each award winner received a cast aluminium plaque for display upon the winning building. The runners-up in the Design and Conservation categories received commendations in the form of commemorative scrolls. An exhibition of the successful entries was mounted at the presentation ceremony and was subsequently displayed at libraries throughout the District. The Award Scheme was run again on similar lines in 1982 and 1984, and the Planning Department was a major contributor to the Council’s programme of events relating to EYE, one of which was the 1987 Design and Conservation Award Scheme.


So after our experience of running the Award Scheme four times in West Lothian, what general conclusions can be drawn? The first year the Scheme operated, we were not surprised to find that most of the nominations had to be made ‘in house’ as we received very limited public response. In 1982 and 1984 the situation steadily improved but nominations still required topping up from within the Department. Only in 1987 did we finally persuade the public to overcome its natural reticence and modesty, and receive sufficient nominations to avoid the need to ‘make up’ numbers. The situation may well be different elsewhere, but our advice to other authorities considering setting up similar
Award Schemes is not to be surprised or disappointed if initial response is low.
A consequence of our invitation to West Lothian at large to make nominations is that the standard of entry has been very uneven. Our policy to date has been to include all nominations, irrespective of merit, in the judging process, merely bringing those of lower standard to the judges’ attention and steering the judging panel in the direction of those which we feel deserve serious consideration. To achieve a more even standard, we have contemplated amending the wording of the invitation to nominate to the effect that the Department reserves the right to reject entries which it considers do not reach the standard outlined in


the invitation. However, if we do it at all, this will require very careful treatment in order to prevent a situation where members of the public are discouraged from making nominations because they are unsure whether a building merits consideration.
And finally, has the Award scheme been worthwhile; has it brought the efforts of the Department to improve standards of design and conservation work within the District to the public’s attention, and has the public responded favourably? The answer is undoubtedly ‘yes’. It must be admitted that progress, although perceptible, is slow; nevertheless a useful start has been made. The feed-back following the library
exhibitions of award winning entries and talks about the Scheme given in local schools has been positive, and the exhibition material has proved invaluable when discussing with prospective applicants ways and means of improving a particular proposal. The Scheme has certainly, if nothing else, introduced and made clear the concepts of good design and conservation to both the public and the Council, and this in itself has been of great benefit.

Graham Reed was
Conservation Officer
Lothian District Council.
formerly to West
Manse Court East Calder— Winner of 1984 D.C. Design Award

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