WORK on Haddington’s Corn Exchange could be completed before the end of November.

The venue closed in February last year with an £800,000 refurbishment planned for the town centre building.

Originally, the building was due to open in November last year but that date has twice been pushed back.

Firstly, specialist contractors carried out extensive survey work on the building, which dates back to 1854, and found that additional work was required.

In February, the local authority said that the target date for reopening was “late summer” but the timetable for completion slipped again when the coronavirus pandemic saw renovations at the building put on hold as construction work ground to a halt across the country.

Councillor John McMillan, who represents Haddington, gave the good news to the town’s community council that a date could be in sight for the work’s completion.

He stressed the revised date was subject to “no other interruptions” and said: “I think that is good news.

“Originally, it was to be December but obviously they have been making up time.

“Obviously, that does not mean it will open in December but it is good to know progress is being made.

“We should not underestimate the £800,000 investment in that by East Lothian Council. My glass is half full.”

Three years ago, the local authority set aside the six-figure sum to cover the costs of revamping the building.

The work includes the installation of new roof lights, roof repairs and repairing timber flooring in the main hall. New storage areas, additional toilets, a new kitchen and a redecoration of the building are also planned.

The venue has held events ranging from art exhibitions and jumble sales to blood donor sessions and concerts featuring the likes of Fish and The Proclaimers.

Jan Wilson, chairwoman of the town’s community council, was pleased to hear progress was being made on the Court Street venue.

The building also acts as the headquarters for the Haddington Festival, which was cancelled this year before Covid-19 struck.

Mrs Wilson said: “Weather permitting and whatever Covid throws at us, hopefully it will go ahead and be ready by that time – whether it will be let out at all this year, I don’t know.

“It will be worth the wait and great to see how it looks and the changes. It has been a great miss because it is such a central place for community events and what not.

“We did not think it was going to be two years without it but things took an unexpected turn with lockdown.

“It would not have been in action even if it had been finished.”