Community councillors are unhappy that a well-known listed building has been left to deteriorate, despite funding being in place to renovate it.

North Berwick Council Chambers has fallen into a state of disrepair and calls have been made to spruce it up in time for North Berwick in Bloom’s entry in Britain in Bloom this summer.

Built in 1728, the building has been temporarily closed since the beginning of the coronovirus pandemic.

Historically it had been used as the Burgh council and court room with jail cells situated in upper and basement areas of the building.

Stocks for minor criminals were also present on the outside of the building and are now in the nearby Coastal Communities Museum.

In 1902 King Edward VII visited North Berwick, planting a sycamore tree at the foot of the steps leading to the building.

In recent times the building has been used to host councillor surgeries, police CAPP meetings (Community & Police Partnership) and community council meetings, but these have not resumed.

The issue was raised at this month’s meeting of North Berwick Community Council (NBCC), with members asking ward councillor Jeremy Findlay if progress had been made in fixing up the building.

Mr Findlay said: “The answer to that is no – there is no progress on this at the moment; however, I would suggest that this be looked at again after the May 5 [East Lothian Council] elections, and whoever the three [new North Berwick Coastal] councillors are can perhaps put more pressure on.”

However, community councillors were unhappy with the lack of progress, saying that the town’s Common Good fund had had the money set aside “for years”.

Bill Macnair, community councillor, said: “I didn’t think it was anything to do with budget and that it was coming out of the Common Good.

“There seems to be this reluctance to do this standard maintenance on a building; it’s a pantile roof, there’s stuff growing in it, the gutters are in a terrible state.

I really despair; how do we get something done in this climate?”

Community councillors discussed whether the planned renovations were tied to the ongoing plans to upgrade High Street, which have been repeatedly postponed.

Kathryn Smith, secretary of NBCC, said: “[Ward councillor] Jim Goodfellow told us some time ago that funding had all been agreed, the work was to be done [last] October when High Street was supposed to be done.

“That was then postponed and it was supposed to be done in February, but that was also postponed.

“It all seems to be hinging upon the work in the High Street if anything is going to be done. The money has been agreed – he told us that.”

However, East Lothian Council rejected this notion and announced that plans were in place to renovate the building, and that it was hoped these would take place after Easter.

A spokesperson said: “The Common Good fund approved the budget for the work in December and the plan was to align the work with the proposed alterations to High Street.

“The High Street works are now suspended and require further consideration and development.

“As such, the team are actively trying to secure a contractor and start date for the Town House works to be carried out after Easter but before the main visitor season.

“If this cannot be achieved, the work will be delayed until the autumn.

“The budget is not lost and remains in place.

“We want to avoid as much disruption and impact through the main visitor periods.”