A KEY community venue in the heart of Haddington could reopen its doors this spring.
An £800,000 refurbishment of the town’s Corn Exchange, which has put its main hall out of use for nearly two years, is almost complete.
The work saw new roof lights installed in the main hall, as well as roof repairs and timber flooring replaced.
A new storage area, new kitchen and additional toilets have also been created, with minor decoration of the building to be carried out.
A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said: “We’re pleased to report that our contractor Maxi has now completed the main refurbishment works in the Corn Exchange.
“There remains a few outstanding detailing works to be completed and we look forward to sharing photographs of the finished space in the near future.”
The Court Street building has been a venue for everything from concerts by The Proclaimers and Fish to blood donation sessions and charity fundraisers.
Councillor John McMillan, who represents the town, was hopeful that those using the building would notice a significant change when it finally opened its doors.
He said: “I think there is a wee bit of finishing, fine detailed work and decoration to be finished.
“I am hoping we will get together with some of the key stakeholders and look at ways of using it better.
“It is something that has been very firmly in my mind for a long time.
“I’m hoping, despite all the problems we have got with the new lockdown, that we will be able to look at better use, better management and better results for people out of having what is a great improvement.
“I think it has been needed and is money well spent.”
Mr McMillan was pleased to say that the character of the building, which dates back to 1854, had been preserved despite the alterations.
Work had been due to start in February 2019 and be finished by November that year.
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However, “further intrusive survey work” was necessary before progress could be made, with the building remaining shut.
Haddington Festival was based outwith the Corn Exchange, its usual headquarters, in 2019 before the decision was taken to cancel the festival last year, although it would likely have been cancelled anyway due to the coronavirus pandemic.