A FIVE-figure grant has been agreed in principle to help carry out repairs at a historic building.

Dunbar’s Corn Exchange dates back to 1885 but, despite attempts to bring the building back into life, its future remains uncertain.

Currently, it is used to keep the town’s Christmas lights and it is also used to store bunting and banners, which are used during the Civic Week celebrations, and equipment used by the town’s Rotary Club.

Dunbar and East Linton Area Partnership has agreed a grant of £12,500 in principle, with the application expected to be given final approval within a matter of weeks.

Graham Adams, chairman of the Christmas lights team and vice-chairman of the town’s community council, had called on the local authority to provide money to go towards repairs, with a pledge that he will find another £60,000 in labour.

He said: “What we are looking for is for the Corn Exchange to become a working workshop.

“It would be a warehouse with standard amenities like running water and toilets you can use.

“Now the council has invested in getting the roof watertight it is time to get the electrics and water sorted.”

Mr Adams said the building was used throughout the year and they were keen to make it “a more pleasant working environment”.

He has already met with East Lothian Council and acknowledged funds were tight.

He said: “We are appreciative we have got a watertight building.

“We just need to get it as a good working environment and secure it long-term.

“We are working by head torches and tripods and we should be working with normal lights.

“Everybody appreciates that the Christmas lights bring a lot of people into Dunbar.”

Concerns have repeatedly been expressed about the future of the historic building, which was once home to one of Dunbar’s earliest cinemas, and was used as a venue for public meetings.

A report in 2011 suggested £500,000 needed to be spent in remedial works and two years later Herbert Coutts, of the community council, suggested it would be “best-served being demolished”.

Plans to breathe new life into the building and turn it into “a multi-functional community space” stalled, despite Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and comedian and radio presenter Fred MacAulay backing the campaign.

Mr Adams has written to Angela Leitch, chief executive of East Lothian Council, regarding funding for the building.

He stressed the work at the venue would not be on a par with the previous plans to bring it back to life but would simply improve it and make it into a storage area or workshop.

A spokesman for East Lothian Council confirmed an application for £12,500 had been considered by the area partnership, with the Christmas Lights group given £4,140 last year.