THE former Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) building in Tranent could soon be home to a new church following the successful purchase of the building.

The building, on High Street, has been bought by Musselburgh Baptist Church on behalf of a group of local residents who plan to turn it into a new church.

It is hoped that work on the building will start in the next month, with the aim of completion by the end of the year.

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Tim Rawlinson, who serves as a minister at Musselburgh Baptist Church, is one of the more than 20 people involved in the purchase.

He told the Courier: “We’re all a group of local Tranent residents who want to share the good news with the world.

“We have all been attending churches outside of Tranent, most of us at Musselburgh Baptist Church, but wanted to have somewhere here in Tranent.

“The building has been purchased through Musselburgh Baptist Church on our behalf and we still need to apply for a change of use and carry out some works inside to get it ready.”

The building was home to Tranent’s last banking branch, RBS, but has been empty since the branch closed in July last year.

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Mr Rawlinson, 31, who has a wife, Claire, and two young children, has served as a minister for three years, firstly in Edinburgh before laterally at Musselburgh Baptist Church.

Following the work at the new building, he will leave his role at the Musselburgh church.

He said: “Musselburgh has a few ministers already so I don’t believe I will be replaced as such.

“We do believe there is good news to share and we want to turn the building into a community hub that is open seven days a week.

“We hope to run Bible studies, kids' groups and more, and really make this a great thing for the town.

“We want to be a hospital for spiritually sick people where they can meet Jesus who called himself the ‘good doctor’, and a home where people can find belonging through Jesus.

“There is always some mixed reactions when talks of a new church are held. But we really hope we can be a good thing for Tranent.

"We have a lot of young families as part of our group, so this is an exciting venture for us all. We can’t wait to get started.”

Mike Falconer, chair of Tranent and Elphinstone Community Council, praised the proposals.

He said: "I think this is a great thing for Tranent.

"Any business or group that can come in and offer a community space is exactly what we want in the town.

"I wish all those involved the best of luck with it and hope to see it operational soon."

Councillor Lee-Anne Menzies, ward member for the town, added: "I'm not a church person, but I recognise the great work many of them do for our towns and villages.

"I am delighted to see the plans for the building are positive and wish them all the best."