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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 cat-
egories 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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