A CADET force could once again be based at Knox Academy, nearly five years after one was controversially scrapped.

Knox Academy’s Combined Cadet Force (CCF), the last state school CCF in Scotland, shut in 2010.

However, the school could now provide a base for cadets once more, with a detachment of the Army Cadet Force (ACF) – at least on a temporary basis – due to set up home in the building.

Talks about creating an ACF, which would not involve any cadets from the Royal Navy, Royal Air Force or Royal Marines, in Haddington have been ongoing for several months.

Already, an agreement has been reached for two of the school’s classrooms to be hired one evening a week for the group to meet.

Nancy Thorne, cadet executive officer, told the Courier: “I’m hoping we can start in the new year – whether that happens or not I don’t know.” The idea of creating a new detachment will be considered by a number of different tiers of the ACF hierarchy including the 51 Scottish Brigade, based in Stirling.

It is also likely to be scrutinised by Support Command, based in Aldershot.

If the move is approved, the new detachment could open by the end of January.

Mrs Thorne said: “We’ve got cadet detachments all around the coast in East Lothian but there is nothing inland.

“So there is a big gap for a youth organisation.” There were cadets, she explained, currently travelling from Haddington to one of the other five cadet detachments in the county, which are based in Dunbar, Musselburgh, North Berwick, Prestonpans and Tranent.

One of the issues cited which saw the CCF close four years ago was the storage of firearms on the school premises.

Mrs Thorne said that would not happen, with firearms instead continuing to be stored at the other dedicated ACF premises in the county.

Cadets would then travel to one of those detachments for any training involving firearms.

If the ACF then found dedicated premises in the town, a decision over whether firearms were stored in the building would be taken.

Similarly, at the time of the closure, dwindling staff volunteer numbers were also blamed for the CCF’s demise but Mrs Thorne highlighted that the ACF did not need to be run purely by volunteers from Knox Academy.

Instead, volunteers could come from any walk of life.

Among those welcoming the possibility of a cadet group restarting in the town was the county’s Lord Lieutenant Michael Williams.

He said: “It means we have got a cadet platoon back in Haddington, where we ought to have one.

“It does seem the ACF is thriving at the moment and the council has been brilliant as well, looking for accommodation.

“I’m absolutely thrilled; it is something which has been missing for a long time.

“I don’t want to go into the reasons or the history but it was just unfortunate what happened previously.” Mr Williams felt that youngsters could benefit from being part of the cadets.

He said: “It teaches about working as a team and a little bit of discipline.

“There is actually quite a lot of skills they learn.

“My Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets, who are top of the tree, are just amazing young people and they are bringing on others to learn.” Knox Academy’s CCF shut following a decision by Janis Craig, the school’s then headteacher, who cited concerns over the storage of cadet rifles for members’ training, the presence of firearms and a lack of staff volunteers.

East Lothian Council declined to comment.

But one council source said: “Knox Academy will simply be where the cadets will be based – it won’t be run by the school, though the cadets will mostly be Knox pupils.”