AFTER more than two years of deliberation, Knutsford’s old cottage hospital has been put up for sale by the British Red Cross.

The charity, based at Memorial House on Northwich Road, told the Guardian that it anticipates the sale will take ‘some time’ to complete while it finds a suitable alternative base for the staff.

There are currently 26 employees at the former cottage hospital, which also acts as a base for national staff working in the area.

Although the Red Cross is in ownership of Memorial House, a spokesperson for the charity confirmed that the NHS will receive ‘a share of the proceeds’ following completion.

Barbara-Anne Walker, British Red Cross operations director for Cheshire, said: “The Red Cross has been looking at the suitability and viability of Memorial House since 2012.

“It is a beautiful building with considerable historical significance. However a number of factors make it now no longer fit for purpose for the services that the Red Cross aims to provide.

“Compared to other buildings its size, Memorial House costs the Red Cross more to heat, and does not have step free access for people with mobility needs.

“The Red Cross has a duty to provide the best possible buildings and offices for our staff and volunteers.

“We also have a duty to make sure money is spent in the way which means we can help as many people and run the best services as possible.”

A statement from the charity said that the sale is part of 'wider changes' being made across the British Red Cross.

The charity provides services across the UK, with Cheshire services ranging from mobility aids to supporting people within their homes and refugee support.

“The sale of Memorial House does not mean services in Cheshire and the Knutsford area will decrease.

“We have also been working closely with Knutsford Town Council to look at the relocation of the statue outside Memorial House and the plaques within it.

“Plans are currently being made to relocate the statue to be incorporated into a new memorial in Knutsford town centre and the plaques will be displayed in the council office.”

The Guardian previously featured an article in June 2013 in which the British Red Cross announced that it was looking for alternative options for its Cheshire base.