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Church News

Local church takes over town's last bank after closure criticised as 'appalling'

by Lydia Davies

The closure of the last bank in Tranent, East Lothian, was met with widespread disapproval, being labelled "appalling" by many residents.

Hundreds of locals expressed their dissatisfaction by signing a petition urging the banking corporation to reconsider its decision. A motion was proposed to local councillors, urging the local authority's chief executive and council leader to meet with the bank's executives to convey the council's concerns and explore alternatives to keep the branch operational.

Less than a year after the contentious closure, the former Royal Bank of Scotland on Tranent's High Street is now slated to become the primary location for Musselburgh Baptist Church. The church has submitted a planning application to repurpose the building for its community services.

Musselburgh Baptist Church reportedly aims to revitalise the building with a variety of community-oriented activities.

The church's planning statement, as seen by Edinburgh Live, outlined their intentions to use the space for Sunday worship services, midweek prayer meetings, and Bible studies.

The statement read in part: "It is intended that the building will be open throughout the week as a place where the community feel able to come for a cup of tea and a conversation.

"The church currently consists of 30 people who will be regular users of the building, though we hope for this number to increase, and we anticipate a larger number of people to attend the groups and activities listed above."

Additionally, the building will serve as office space for church staff during the weekdays, and host various community groups and activities.

The proposed activities include a toddler group, kids clubs, a café-style drop-in, craft groups, a chess club, addiction recovery groups, and a men’s group. The church plans to make the building a welcoming place for the community throughout the week.

The church also expressed a desire to contribute to the High Street's vitality by maintaining the building's condition and increasing footfall in the area.

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