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Theatre picks up award for design
Ledbury'S new Market Theatre was named winner of the town's keenly-contested Design Awards competition.
The results were announced at the annual town meeting by Coun Bob Wreford, spokesman for the independent judging panel.
He said there were 13 nominations for 1999 - a record since the scheme began four years ago.
Coun Wreford said the standard had been so high that new "Highly Commended" categories had to be introduced.
"I hope that everyone will look for suitable candidates for the year 2000," he said. "We're trying to the encourage the creation of new buildings of style and excellence."
Outright winner was the Market Theatre, built by Ledbury Amateur Dramatic Society at a cost of around £400,000, following a major fund-raising drive.
Praising the choice, town mayor Spencer Lane said: "What LADS have managed to achieve without Lottery funding is truly staggering. They deserve this award."
LADS' president Dolly Tow said she was "absolutely delighted" by the award.
"I think it's a rather wonderful thing to happen, and I can only repeat the words of the mayor," she said.
A Highly Commended award went to Bloor Homes, for Massey Road on the New Mills estate.
Coun Wreford said: "I'm very pleased to see this as something we can show our respect for. It gets across the message that if you're going to build something in Ledbury, you are going to build it good."
Another High Commended award went to the new Ledbury Leisure Centre at John Masefield High School which, it was revealed, ran the Market Theatre close for the top slot.
Some of the nominations fell at the first hurdle, because it was felt that they did not quite meet the "new building or structure" requirement.
Other nominations included the Pavilion Rooms at Ledbury Rugby Club, St Michael and All Angels' Church for its new toilets, and the enlargement of the Little Frith House in Knapp Lane.
Lenny Thomson, the treasurer of LADS, who accepted the plaque from Coun Wreford, said: "It's a great honour and we are thrilled to bits."