‘Where Next’ for 60 King Street?

‘Where Next’ for 60 King Street is the question Knutsford Town Council is asking the local community as part of a consultation to inform how the iconic Grade II* listed building will be used in the future.

The building, also known as Kings Coffee House, was home to the Belle Epoque until 2019 and previous attempts to find a new tenant were unsuccessful. In 2021 the council changed approach and appointed heritage consultants to lead a major grant bid to secure funds to regenerate and reimagine the building.

Speaking in a video released to promote the consultation, Town Mayor Cllr Stewart Gardiner said “Our vision is for a hybrid community and commercial space that will serve the whole of Knutsford but ensure the building remains financially viable”

The council has developed a range of ideas as to how the building could be used in the future to both generate income to offset maintenance costs and deliver a direct community benefit as had originally been intended when the Kings Coffee House was opened by its creator Richard Harding Watt.

“To help us shape our plans we are holding an open consultation, because we want to know your views on how this space should be used in the future” Cllr Gardiner added.

The survey aims to ensure that the building responds to the needs of the Knutsford community by helping identify gaps in service and space provision within the town.

Aware that many residents will not be aware of the extent of the property, the council is opening the doors of the building and offering a series of guided tours on Saturday 23rd April to enable the community to see the whole building and grounds. Numbers on the tours are limited and pre-booking is required. Each tour will end with a group discussion on what they have seen and their initial thoughts on how the building could be best used.

The survey and booking form for the guided tours can be found at: www.knutsfordtowncouncil.gov.uk/60KS. Paper versions of the survey can be collected from Knutsford Library, Knutsford Market Hall and the Council Offices. Residents not on the internet can book a space on a tour by calling 01565 653 929.

To support the consultation, and for those unable to attend a tour, the council has released a short promotional video which features interior and exterior views of the building; the video can be viewed on the council website.

An aerial view of the Moor

Town Centre Masterplan Consultation Conclusions

The Town Council held a consultation on proposed changes to traffic and parking arrangements in Knutsford Town Centre from 5th February to 16th March 2020. These form the first stage of a comprehensive Town Centre Masterplan.

In total we received 658 responses to the consultation which demonstrate overall support for the proposals. A report on the consultation has been prepared and will be published in July when the recommendations from the Town Centre working group are presented to the Town Council.

The number of respondents supporting or opposing the three aspects of the proposed scheme are:

Discouraging through traffic – 426 (65%) FOR | 232 (35%) AGAINST

More parking & a multi-storey – 517 (79%) FOR | 139(21%) AGAINST

Limiting parking on King and Princess Streets – 505 (77%) FOR | 151 (23%) AGAINST

The numbers answering the question “Overall, do you support this 3-part scheme as a first step towards securing the future of Knutsford town centre?” were:

                                                YES:  383 (58%)  |  NO: 268 (41%)

61 respondents identified themselves as business owners/ managers; of these 38 voted YES, 23 NO.

The many comments qualify and explain the support or lack of it for the various aspects of the scheme.   Topics attracting comment include:

  • traffic congestion on the A50 and Adams Hill caused by closing King and Princess Streets to through traffic,
  • drivers being confused by the proposed road changes, and disappointed at having to drive around the town, not through it,
  • support for a multi-storey especially at the Tatton St. car park, but concern that unless well designed, it would be out of keeping with Knutsford’s heritage.
  • concern that a multi-storey on the King Street car park would spoil the view from the Moor,
  • traffic along Moorside posing a hazard near the children’s playground,
  • the desire to be able to park near a shop and call in for a few minutes, free of charge,
  • the pedestrianisation of King Street,
  • enforcing the double yellow lines,
  • the state of the pavements in King and Princess Streets,
  • consideration for the particular needs of town centre residents,
  • low cost parking for town centre employees,
  • the ultimate need for a bypass.
An aerial view of the Moor

Town Centre Masterplan Proposals

Knutsford Town Council is launching a consultation on proposals for changes to Town Centre Traffic and Parking arrangements as the first stage of developing a Town Centre Masterplan.

Led by Cllr Christopher Gray the council’s Town Centre Masterplan Working Group, which comprises local residents, businesses and councillors, has prepared proposals for a limited-vehicle access scheme for the Town Centre. The scheme aims to reduce the volume of traffic on King and Princess Streets whilst maintaining access to all homes, businesses and car parks.

The bold proposals include creating new pedestrian squares at Canute Place and outside Lost and Found on Princess Street as well as the development of well-designed multi-storey car parks to increase parking. The proposals also include creating an access to Princess Street directly from the A50 through the car park behind Waitrose.

Town Clerk, Adam Keppel-Green said, “These proposals form the first part of developing an overall master plan for Knutsford Town Centre with the overriding aim of ensuring we have a town centre which continues to flourish. These proposals focus on the mechanics of the town centre, and future work on the masterplan will look at issues such as pavement and road surfaces”

Public consultation events are being held on Tuesday 4th February (6:30pm) and Wednesday 5th February (2pm) in Knutsford Methodist Church. Town Centre residents and businesses were invited to preview the proposals at events held this week and the Town Council hopes to engage as many stakeholders as possible to garner their views on the proposals.

The consultation commences on Wednesday 5th February when full details will be published on the Town Council website. The consultation runs to March 13th.