PLANS to transform a former church into four flats have been temporarily shelved.

Haddington School of Dance and Music has withdrawn plans to turn Newton Port Church into new homes.

The dance and music school is on the lookout for new premises, as the upkeep costs of the building are problematic.

However, the proposals, which were submitted to East Lothian Council’s planning department in January, have since been withdrawn.

A spokeswoman for the local authority expected new proposals to be submitted in the future.

Issues with the original application had been identified as the building is listed and also sits within the town’s conservation area.

Documents included in the withdrawn planning application highlight the difficulties facing the dance school business, including the maintenance of the building, which is more than 180 years old.

It reads: “The necessary modernisation of heating, electrics and plumbing, together with roofing, prevention of water ingress and ensuring safety from falling masonry, has been a recurrent expense.

“The owners are proud to have restored the building to the current level.

“What were thought to be initial major renovation expenses have, however, continued year on year. The building is due for further major works of damp proofing and roof repairs to the extension.

“There are several areas where water ingress has never been fully stopped.”

Originally, the building opened its doors as St John’s Church of Scotland, in 1838. More recently, it was used by the congregation of St Mary’s as their church hall.

However, the building, at the junction of Newton Port and Fortune Avenue, has been vandalised, with lead stolen from the roof and sky lights damaged.

The document adds: “It has become clear that the ongoing costs of keeping the building wind and water tight, safe and up to modern standards for the current purpose are not a viable prospect for the future for the school.

“The winter heating costs are prohibitive and the current school director cannot continue to run the school with accumulated losses.

“The current owner of the school is now considering how best to continue to provide the community amenity into the future.

“She considers that this specialised service will be best provided in a modern, easily maintained studio space. That could take the form of an industrial unit large enough to house the theatre rigging and studio equipment.”