THE Theatre Royal, which last year won big in the York Design Awards following a £6 million refurbishment, has now picked up a top national prize as well.

It won a special Conservation Area award in the recent Civic Voice design awards held at London’s Leadenhall.

It also finished a close second in a public Civic Voice ‘People’s Choice’ vote in competition against 11 other shortlisted design projects from across the UK, losing out only narrowly to the restored Sandycombe Lodge, the ‘rural retreat’ of JMW Turner near the Thames.

Last year the Theatre Royal won two gongs in the York Design Awards - including The Press People’s Award, voted for by readers of The Press.

But the national Civic Voice award was the icing on the cake for the theatre, said Janet Hopton, chair of the York Design Awards committee which nominated the theatre for the award.

“We’re delighted that it has won - and also that it did so well in the public vote,” she said. “Seeing York’s nomination recognised on the national stage shows what great building and conservation work is going on here.

“This was our first entry to the Civic Voice Design Awards, and having had a winning entry, York Design Awards will be submitting schemes in future years in the hope of similar national successes for York.”

Philip Thake, the former chief executive of the York Conservation Trust, which owns the Theatre Royal and oversaw its £6 million restoration by De Matos Ryan, travelled down to London for the Civic Voice awards.

“We’re very, very proud that the Theatre Royal did so well,” he said. “It is real recognition of the quality of the work that the York Conservation Trust and others did on the theatre.”