I have to honestly say I reckoned Victoria Baths would get the award from the outset. Its such a telegenic choice - public facility, great for the kids, ancient swimming legend as a sponsor - not to mention it being in one of the largest cities which is itself currently geared up to renovation and restoration. As the Norfolk entry said: how can 35,000 inhabitants of Kings Lynn compete with Manchester! I think it was a worthy choice although you may be right about the city council tackling the project at some stage with or without the award.
It was heartening to hear the stories from some of the losers that the interest in their structures had rocketted since they were on TV. RESTORATION has at least given heritage in the UK some much needed headline space.