Hopes of a business association forming in Tranent could be made a reality when a meeting takes place on Monday.

All business owners in Tranent are welcome to attend a meeting to discuss what issues they’d like to see pushed by the association should it get up and running.

Dominic McNeill, owner of the Tower Inn pub and Tower Kitchen, is behind the plans, which has already had 32 businesses in the town sign up including Thomsons of Tranent, S&Y McMaster Butchers and Whispers Lounge Bar.

He said: “I think everyone will agree that Tranent is dying a death at the moment. The High Street is embarrassing.

“I sat and watched the other day and about 100 cars went along, none of them with any room to stop. If even five per cent of them were to stop and shop here it would make a difference.

“I believe there was an effort to launch a business association pre-Covid but nothing ever happened. But I think it could make a real difference and I’ve had great support so far.”

The meeting will take place on Monday at 7pm in the Tower Inn with all business owners in the town welcome to attend.

Mr McNeill said: “It’s still very early days, we’ve not got a chair or handed out roles yet.

“Monday is really about establishing the group, getting a feel for what people want to see in the town and then taking it from there.”

Mr McNeill, whose dad Robert is a member of the town community council, said there had been good backing from the town.

He said: “The support has been good so far. I know my dad is very involved in the wider community but I am a firm believer that if we can pull businesses together so we are all speaking with a united voice it will help.

“I’ve got some ideas already like perhaps a discount from businesses for shopping in Tranent, or music events with singers performing in the Tower Inn, Whispers, the Store Club and so on.

“Everyone will have different ideas and that is what Monday is about.”

Amongst the key issues facing the town, parking is Mr McNeill’s top priority.

He said: “We have to look at how we can improve parking in the town. People are going to other towns or along the A1 because it is easier than parking on High Street. That for me is a top priority.

“I know at least three businesses that are at the point now where they may not survive. That could be three more empty shops on High Street. Personally, if I didn’t have the Tower Inn I am not sure I’d still be in business because the Kitchen, while it is busy, it’s hard to keep up with the costs.”

Mike Falconer, chair of Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council, said he was excited about the plans.

He said: “I think Tranent has been crying out for a business association for a while now. I hope businesses can get involved and make a real go of it.

“Bringing life to Tranent High Street is one of the top priorities at the community council.”

Councillor Colin McGinn, ward member for Tranent, added: “It is looking like this will happen now and I know Dominic is very passionate about it.

“This can only be a good thing for Tranent.”