Knutsford Town Council has now gained vacant possession of 60 King Street. La Belle Epoque Limited vacated the premises by 4pm on Sunday (16th) when the Town Council entered the building and took possession. This marked the end of four challenging years between the council as landlord and La Belle Epoque Limited as tenant which had included the non-payment of rent, unauthorised alterations and frustration of essential repairs.
Notwithstanding the message, the council was extremely disappointed that La Belle Epoque put the public at risk by hanging two banners off the Gaskell Memorial Tower on Friday afternoon. When the banners were removed it was apparent that the wood used to weight the banners was close to falling off and down onto King Street.
Following an options appraisal, the Town Council has resolved to progress finding a new tenant to occupy the building. It is anticipated that the building will be let on a full repairing and insuring lease, removing the obligation on the town council of being responsible for the building’s maintenance. It is anticipated that as a result of the change in lease the council will save taxpayers money by offsetting the required council tax.
During the next few weeks the Town Council will be agreeing the heads of terms for a new leasing arrangement and appointing a commercial estate agent to market the property. It is anticipated that the property will be advertised in late July/early August.
Whilst the property is empty, the council will utilise the window space for local businesses to host pop-up window displays, something the council encourages other landlords with vacant properties to do, to reduce the visual impact of empty shops on the high street.
Cllr Andrew Malloy, Town Mayor said “This marks the end of four years of dispute with our former tenant. The council takes no joy in the outcome but looks to the future in securing a new occupier for this iconic Knutsford building”.
Cllr Peter Coan, Chairman of the council’s Assets and Operations Committee added “This presents us with an opportunity to re-let the property on more favourable terms for the local council tax payers. We look forward to a new occupancy with a tenant that will secure for the town a vibrant centre piece we can truly be proud of”.