Cllr Peter Coan holds a door open and an arm out welcoming you to a building

Council creates space for new businesses

New business premises have been created in the town centre by converting previously redundant space in the town’s public toilet buildings.

Knutsford Town Council took ownership of the public toilet buildings at King Street Car Park and the Bus Station in 2013 through an asset transfer from Cheshire East Council. On transfer the council appointed national toilet provider Danfo to create three new cubicles within each larger building which saw the town’s toilets transform from facilities which were frequently the subject of complaints due to the poor condition and maintenance to toilets that have been accredited as Platinum standard in the national Loo of the Year awards.  

The creation of the new toilets in 2013 left large areas of redundant space in the buildings which were previously large male and female spaces. Utilising capital funds raised from the sale of the Cemetery Lodge in 2016, the Town Council has converted these spaces into modern glass fronted units designed to accommodate a range of businesses. The conversion works were undertaken between February and May and involved creating new openings to the buildings, installation of individually metered services and heating, insulation and lighting. The units were designed to enable new tenants to quickly move in and decorate the units for their use.

The premises at the King Street car park has been named Lily Lodge with the property at the bus station named Justice View. The properties were advertised for let through local agents Williams Sillitoe and the council is currently agreeing the leases with two new local businesses.

“Our aim with this project was to put empty space into economic use” said Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green. “The new units will generate a rental income for the Town Council and will provide a home for two great Knutsford-grown businesses brining more business and more employment into our town centre”.

Cllr Peter Coan opens a door.

Top – Cllr Peter Coan, Chairman of the Assets and Operations Committee, at Justice View.
Bottom – Cllr Peter Coan at Lily Lodge

Aerial photo of Marshall House

Council decides not to purchase Marshall House

The opportunity to purchase a landmark building in the Town Centre was considered by the Town Council at two meetings in October. Marshall House, the Victorian former Egerton School on Church Hill, was put up for sale following the collapse of Wright Marshall. At an initial meeting in October councillors decided that it was worth exploring options for the building, recognising it could provide a additional community space and public car parking.

An options paper was prepared in advance of a deadline to submit a bid to purchase the building of the 1st November. This paper was considered at a special meeting of the town council on Tuesday 29th October where it was noted that the limited time available meant a fully costed and detailed business case could not be prepared. The options paper explored the idea of purchasing Marshall House to convert it into a Town Hall venue, accommodating the Market Hall and/or Council Offices. One key benefit identified was the opening up a large hall for the community, identified as a need in the Neighbourhood Plan.

It has been anticipated that the purchase price would be in excess of £1.5m and it was concluded that purchasing the building would not provide value for public money. The council accordingly resolved not to submit a bid or explore the options any further.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said “The Town Council is always looking for opportunities to improve the facilities and services available to our community, on balance we felt that this would have presented too much risk and been a poor use of public money.

“We look forward to seeing proposals to bring this fantastic building back into active use developed by the new owners in due course”.