At its January 9th meeting, the Town Council will consider a recommendation from its Assets and Operations Committee that the freehold for 60 King Street be put on the market.
The property was tenanted until 2019 when, due to insolvency of the tenant the lease was forfeit. Attempts to secure a new commercial tenant were unsuccessful due to the scale of the building and the renovation works that are required to launch a new business from the premises. This has been compounded by the unprecedented economic climate the UK has faced since COVID and prospective tenants have stated that they would not be willing to invest the sums required in a building for which they only hold a lease.
Over the last 18 months, the Town Council has explored the option of seeking heritage lottery funding to renovate and re-imagine the building as a hybrid community/commercial space. Consultation to support this was undertaken earlier this year and identified potential uses which would be supported by the community. However, moving this forward would now require significant expenditure to develop a comprehensive funding bid with no certainty that the funds would be secured. On balance, the committee felt continuing with this approach presented an unacceptable risk to public finances and that alternative means of providing the facilities and services the community needs would be more sustainable.
The Town Council has received a number of informal expressions of interest for acquiring the freehold over the past three years and local estate agents Savills have advised a guide price for a sale in the region of £1.1m. Should the council resolve to sell the building an agent will be appointed, and a competitive marketing process commenced to secure the best sale for Knutsford.
Town Mayor, Cllr Mike Houghton said “The recommendation from our Assets Committee will be debated by the whole council in January when a formal decision will be made. In the interim we welcome the views of our residents which can be submitted to the Town Clerk or to any councillors”