MORE than £600,000 will be spent on improvements to Haddington Town House.

The building, at the junction of High Street, Court Street and Market Street, has regularly been used by East Lothian Council for a variety of committee meetings.

The town’s community council also meets in the council chamber, with the venue used for everything from singing practice and exhibitions to fashion shows.

Now, East Lothian Council has confirmed a second phase of works will start in September.

A spokeswoman said the scheme, which will run until March next year, would cost a total of £618,000, including professional fees.

She said: “Clearly there are many ‘ifs’ and general uncertainties regarding the re-opening of public buildings but the proposed works will be phased so that the Town House is only closed for part of – and not all – the contract duration.”

The work is the second phase of a project, with the previous phase, involving work to the steeple, completed a number of years ago.

The new improvements are mainly to the exterior of the building and include major roofing works, stonework repairs, repointing, rainwater goods, window repairs and external decoration. Inside, work will focus on electrical work and decoration.

Provost John McMillan, who represents the town on East Lothian Council, stressed that the building was for local communities and said: “It is such an essential place but it is great that the council can invest.

“It is a historic building and is so much part of our history and just the sense of what Haddington is about.”

The building has been closed for many months due to the coronavirus pandemic, with meetings being held virtually.

East Lothian Council has not met in the council chambers since March 17 last year, when a special council meeting was held regarding coronavirus, with Haddington and District Community Council’s last face-to-face meeting taking place a week earlier.

The work at the building comes after £800,000 was spent on a refurbishment of the nearby Corn Exchange.

The building, on Court Street, has been out of use for two years and it is unknown when it will reopen as the pandemic continues.

Work to the building included new roof lights installed in the main hall, as well as roof repairs and timber flooring replaced.

Meanwhile, a new storage area, new kitchen and additional toilets have also been created, with minor decoration of the building carried out.