THE Scottish Seabird Centre will close for an eight-week refurbishment at the beginning of next month.

The North Berwick tourist attraction is undergoing “a much-needed internal refresh” throughout February and March.

The centre, which opened in May 2000, has won a number of awards for tourism and sustainability.

David Windmill, chairman of the Seabird Centre, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Glasgow Science Centre to upgrade the centre over the coming months.

“We hope these changes will be well received by the local community, our members and the many visitors we welcome each year.”

The work is entirely internal and will include a reorganisation of the upstairs space to allow visitors a clear line of sight to the Discovery Centre.

It will also provide more space to share details of their charitable mission ‘to inspire people to appreciate, understand and care for wildlife and the natural environment’.

The upgraded facilities will, say the charity, also provide better spaces for community use, science engagement and education.

The refurbishment will allow additional exhibits in the Discovery Centre while also seeing an internal wall removed and retail and cafe space relocated.

The retail, cafe and toilets will also be redecorated.

North Berwick Community Council welcomed Mr Windmill to a meeting before Christmas, where the plans were highlighted.

Judy Lockhart, chairwoman, said: “I think the refurbishment is a good thing.

“Mr Windmill said he was going to come back around Easter time about further plans.

“Obviously, there were a lot of concerns last year when they had the application in for an extension. They said lessons had been learnt.”

To complete the programme of work, the centre will be closed for about eight weeks over February and March, with plans to re-open in April.

The office will remain open over this period and all permanent staff will be retained.

It will be business as usual until the closure on February 1.

In November 2017, plans to create a £5.5 million National Marine Centre on the site were rejected by East Lothian councillors.

More than three hours of debate took place in Haddington Town House, with the council’s planning committee split on the plans.

At that time, the 11 members of the committee voted 7-4 to turn down the plans, with four Labour councillors – John McMillan, Norman Hampshire, Colin McGinn and Andrew Forrest – backing the proposals.

Following the refusal, the Scottish Seabird Centre and the people of North Berwick were urged to work together on any future plans for the harbourside site.