Spring is here, and with it comes news from the Preston Tower project team.
The team reports that progress continues to be made with a £1.1m project to repair and refurbish the stonework and surrounding gardens at the historic Preston Tower in Prestonpans.
Work completed so far includes significant repairs to the doocot and the installation of new interpretation boards with artist impressions of how the tower looked at different periods in its history.
A new seating area has been created in the gardens around a carved stone contemplation circle with new paths providing access for all.
Preston Tower is a Historic Scheduled Monument, parts of which date back to the 15th Century. During the current repair project, great care has been taken at every stage to ensure that the works are sympathetic and sensitive to the structure and fabric of the building.
Traditional construction techniques and materials are required and the council has been working closely with specialist contractors and consultants to deliver an appropriate repair project with all of the works reviewed by Historic Environment Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland.
Scaffolding used to carry out repairs to the external masonry of the tower is due to be removed in April, and the final phase of the project - the installation of an external staircase to allow public access to the inside of the tower for the first time in over 40 years -, is due to be completed in the Autumn subject to final consent from Historic Environment Scotland.
Salt of the Earth, a community heritage network linked to the Preston Seton Gosford Area Partnership and funded initially by the Heritage Funds “Great Places” initiative, has been a key partner in the development work at Preston Tower, securing funding for the initial Conservation Assessment report.
The repair project to the tower, doocot and gardens has been funded from a variety of sources including the Scottish Government through its Town Centre Fund and Place Based Investment Programme, as well as the UK Governments UK Shared Prosperity Fund and by the National Trust for Scotland.
With the repair works at Preston Tower coming to an end the Council are currently engaging with the local community to set up a guardianship group of volunteers who can accommodate regular opening of the Tower and provide visitors with additional interpretation of the site.
For more information or to become involved with the guardianship group please contact email@example.com