THE finish line is in sight for plans to open a state-of-the-art community hub in Tranent this autumn.

Construction work is now under way to create the new Fraser Centre, with a target for the facility to open in October.

The building, on the town’s Winton Place, is at the heart of a £2.6 million project, with the former Winton Cinema becoming home to a multi-functional, attractive arts and cultural centre, complete with cafe.

Demolition work started in April last year and finished in November.

Since then, construction work has started on the site.

Jonny Russell and David Orr, from The Fraser Centre Community Trust, gave the good news to the town’s community council last month.

Mr Orr was delighted to see work progressing and said: “I think I was on site when the first steel lorries arrived and it was definitely an exciting moment.

“We have been working on this for so long, so many years, and finally to see the new building begin to take shape – it was a fantastic feeling.

“To actually see that, even though work has been going on very hard for a long time, just seeing that happen showed to everybody there is a lot of progress going on.

“You get that level of interest and excitement in the public is increasing as well.”

The ambitious plans for the site date back to the end of 2011.

Since then, research has been carried out and funding found to transform the building.

Plans for the major upgrade were lodged with East Lothian Council in the summer of 2016 and given the green light in February the following year.

Mr Orr, who is the community trust’s project and development manager, told the Courier: “I do feel the finish line is in sight.

“I said in October that it seemed a long way away but it will fly through the speed the building is going up.

“It just makes you realise we will be in there very soon and we cannot wait [after] so many years planning this and preparing for it.

“Even when we entered 2019, we realised it was the year we were going to be opening.

“It is a good feeling then and, as it goes up, it is beginning to take shape and it is becoming very real.”

Community councillors thanked Mr Orr and Mr Russell for their hard work on the project.

David Forrest, the group’s chairman, said he had spoken to a number of people in the town who were looking forward to the facility opening.

He added: “There is a crane on the site.

“I think the steelwork must be getting ready to go up.

“It is going to be a big benefit to Tranent, especially the bottom end of Tranent.”