Police plans to move 300ft from their current station into a former sheriff court building have been hit with delays after £1.5million in funding was removed from East Lothian Council's budget.
The local authority took ownership of the Haddington Sheriff Court building in 2015 after the Scottish Courts Service closed it along with a number of other rural courts.
But the court rooms have remained vacant ever since, and plans to carry out refurbishment work ahead of the move this year have now been put back.
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East Lothian Council said the money, which was part of £1.74m set to be spent on the building during this financial year has been 'reprofiled' as part of measures set out at a special council meeting last month which saw capital projects 'slowed' to tackle a £5million budget deficit in this year's finance.
Police Scotland first confirmed it was in talks with the local authority over moving into a new 'emergency hub' and closing Haddington Police Station, which is on the same street, a year after the court closed.
Successive chief inspectors in East Lothian have reaffirmed their support for the project and in 2019 the Chief Inspector Steven Duncan said officers expected to move into the building within three years.
The large court in the centre of the building was set to become the new operations room for police officers with other emergency services and vital council officers working in the building alongside them.
The move was intended to create a multi-agency approach which Police Scotland said would help public services run more efficiently.
East Lothian Council backed the move taking on responsibility for the estimated £1.4million initial cost of converting the space before leasing it to Police Scotland.
However that was before the pandemic and it is understood costs are believed to have spiralled after the building lay virtually unused for at least three years with some areas not touched since the court moved out eight years ago.
Police Scotland said they are still committed to moving into the former court house.
Chief Inspector Jocelyn O’Connor, Local Area Commander for East Lothian said: “We remain fully committed to the co-location project in Haddington and the development of the new facility is continuing."
An East Lothian Council spokesperson said: “The capital budget is being re-profiled and aligned following the outcome of the special council meeting to meet the acute financial challenges faced.
“Police Scotland and council officers continue to meet, however, the requirement to retender means that the timeline has not yet been determined.”
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