WORK on a long-awaited extension to a busy sports centre is finally set to get under way later this month.

More than £100,000 has been raised to fund the expansion of Hallhill Sports Centre, on Dunbar’s Kellie Road.

A provisional start date of October 18 has been pencilled in – more than two years after plans were lodged with East Lothian Council.

The approved extension will double the capacity currently on offer in the bar/social area.

Bobby Peters, manager of the facility, was delighted to see the project moving forward “after a long battle”.

He told the Courier: “It is going to make a massive difference to us.

“It will give us extra function space and much more room on a Saturday.

“We had Dunbar United Football Club and Dunbar RFC at home the other Saturday and there was not a seat to be had.

“We have got mums and dads, wives and girlfriends coming in.”

Mr Peters highlighted the recent success of the town’s football club in the Scottish Cup.

A crowd of more than 500 witnessed the Seasiders pick up their second ever win in Scotland’s premier cup competition when they defeated Camelon Juniors last month.

Mr Peters added: “We have had two fantastic days from [the Scottish Cup].

“To be honest, it has been a godsend.”

A clash with Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale later this month at New Countess Park now awaits.

The sports centre is owned by Dunbar Community Development Company (DCDC) and operated by Hallhill Ltd, not East Lothian Council.

It first opened in September 2001 and has become home to an ever-growing list of community clubs.

As well as football and rugby, the building is used by the town’s hockey and running clubs.

More than £115,000 is being spent on the extension, with part of the funding coming from East Lothian Council and Community Windpower.

More than £3,000 was also raised by members of the public, with the various clubs making donations, along with the sports centre’s own money helping to cover the costs.

Mr Peters plans to sit down with the construction team in the coming days to outline how the work will be carried out.

He was hopeful that would not necessitate the closure of any aspect of the building but stressed it would become clear following the meeting.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, who represents Dunbar and East Linton on East Lothian Council, welcomed the progress, with hopes the scheme will be finished by the end of January.

He said: “With the town growing in size and new teams competing at Hallhill – and they have all been very successful – the social area within the building where all the clubs can gather or have functions is really, really struggling to meet the demand on that space.

“This extension will give us a bit more capacity, especially on a weekend when you have a number of different matches taking place at the same time.

“This will make it much more comfortable to socialise within the social space at Hallhill.”