SECTIONS of the staff car park at East Lothian Council’s John Muir House headquarters in Haddington could be made available for public use.

The car park, off Court Street, is home to about 250 spaces but can only be used by council employees and council HQ visitors between 8am and 5pm during the working week.

That could soon change, with a number of spaces potentially being made available for public weekday daytime use.

The idea comes as the council looks to increase the overall number of short and long stay car parking spaces in and around the town centre.

Last year, discussions took place with members of the public surrounding the idea of creating a ‘transport hub’ off the town’s Whittingehame Drive.

Now, a further two-day consultation is taking place in Haddington Town House, when members of the public can discuss parking issues in the town.

The consultation will focus on parking throughout Haddington, including possibly changing the long-stay car park near the town’s Tesco store into a short-stay car park.

Tom Reid, head of infrastructure at East Lothian Council, said: “For many years, we’ve been keen to enhance the town centre so that it offers the best possible environment for all users – including people with restricted mobility, pedestrians and cyclists – to ensure easy access to the local services and businesses on which Haddington depends.

“As well as improved options for active travel and public transport, we recognise there is a need to create more parking spaces in and around the town centre.

“For this to happen, we need to change some existing parking from long stay to short stay, and deliver a new long-stay parking option for drivers who need to leave their vehicle in the town throughout the working day.

“One proposal is the potential re-designation of the existing ‘Tesco long-stay’ car park, which could free up an additional 225 spaces in the town centre for short-stay, public parking.

“We will also review the status of the car park at John Muir House, East Lothian Council’s head office, to consider the potential for an area here to be available for wider public use.”

More than 500 people attended the previous exhibition in the Town House. At that time, the proposals showed a car park of up to 240 spaces at Whittingehame Drive, which would also include options for ‘park and ride’, ‘park and stride’, electric vehicle fast chargers, cycle parking and cycle hire.

Last summer, East Lothian Council secured funding from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund.

Money secured for the project has to be spent by September this year and any proposals would need to go through the planning process.

Mr Reid thanked everyone for their attendance at the meeting in December and encouraged people to go along to the upcoming consultation, which takes place on February 25 and 26, between 2pm and 7.30pm each day.

The events will be an opportunity to find out more about proposals to enhance parking provision and accessibility in Haddington town centre.

There will be an exhibition of the transport hub site selection process and council officers will be available to discuss issues and record comments on the proposals and the wider issues regarding access to the town.

Mr Reid added: “To continue providing dedicated, long-stay parking, we’ve been developing proposals to create a new edge-of-centre transport hub.

“This would be linked to greater provision for sustainable and active travel choices, in support of our ambitions to reduce emissions.

“Option evaluation work has identified Whittingehame Drive as the most appropriate location.

“Separately, the council has been looking at proposals to enhance the streetscape and public realm of the town centre, for the benefit of all users – including those on foot or travelling by bike.”