KNUTSFORD Town Council has agreed to earmark its capital reserves for a potential £500,000 revamp of its offices.

The scheme would include a lift to make the first floor accessible, a larger kitchen, rentable office space, community space and the Talking Newspaper recording studio.

A suite of offices would be created for the council, a new heating and cooling system would be installed, and broadband connectivity would be installed.

An audio-visual system would be installed in the council chamber and relevant meeting rooms, and covered cycle parking and an electric vehicle charging point would be provided.

It is also proposed to make the front of the building more accessible through raising the top deck of the steps and installing a small lift to the right-hand side.

Town clerk Adam Keppel-Green said: “Through undertaking a thorough refurbishment, the council will have reduced operational running costs and lower future maintenance costs.

“The improvements to the building will increase the value of commercial office lettings and increase rentability.”

The adopted business case for the transfer of the town council offices included essential maintenance, installing a lift and some refurbishment of rooms to make them commercially viable.

The total planned capital works were estimated to cost £99,000, but following workshops with councillors and officers there was a desire to undertake a more comprehensive programme of works.

Increasing the scope of the works could see the cost rise to £500,000, which would require the council to borrow £160,000.

Cllr Neil Forbes said the revised plans were aimed at making the offices more habitable, more rentable and better for the public.

It would mean the council having to spend its capital reserves, he added, and any other capital projects other than those already agreed would need to find money elsewhere.

He said the council was being asked to earmark money in case it was needed to be spent.

Councillors agreed to adopt the revised scope of refurbishment works, subject to change once the final costs were obtained.

They also agreed to earmark the capital receipts reserve for the works, and approved in principle borrowing to pay for the balance of works, subject to a business plan to repay the debt.

An architect is to be commissioned, at a cost of £28,000, to develop plans for the works.