LA BELLE Epoque will vacate 60 King Street in Knutsford within the next month, says Knutsford Town Council.

The council said today (Thursday) on its website: "The Town Council and La Belle Epoque Limited have agreed the following.

"La Belle Epoque has accepted that its lease for 60 King Street has been forfeit.

"It has been agreed that the company will vacate the premises by 4pm on June 16, 2019.

"Any individuals with bookings with the company after this date should be in contact with La Belle Epoque.

"For the avoidance of doubt, booking agreements are solely between the company and the hirer, and not with the Town Council.

"There will be a period of time, likely between three and six months, where the property is unoccupied, and the Town Council is unfortunately unable to offer the premises to hire during this period.

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"In June, the Assets and Operations Committee of the Town Council will discuss the long-term management of the property.

"This is the culmination of four years of problems with the company as tenant, which have included non-payment of rent, unauthorised alterations to the building and numerous court proceedings.

"There remains a substantial amount of money owed to the Town Council by La Belle Epoque in respect of legal fees owed to us in enforcing the former lease."

The council said in April that, in entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement, La Belle Epoque Limited had forfeited its lease for 60 King Street, and following legal advice the council had decided to issue possession proceedings against La Belle Epoque for the return of the premises.

La Belle Epoque managing director Matthew Mooney told the Guardian today (Thursday): "It is with deep regret that in light of a sustained campaign by Knutsford Town Council to remove us from our trading address of 46 years, The Belle Epoque will no longer operate from 60 King Street after June.

"We have been working tirelessly with our legal team to fight forfeiture proceedings imposed by the council, in order to prevent huge disappointment for many brides and bridegrooms as well as staff employed by the business.

Knutsford Guardian:

La Belle Epoque managing director Matthew Mooney

"This fight has unfortunately been unsuccessful, and the economic and logistical impact on the business means that after 45 years of trading successfully, it is no longer viable to continue.

"We would like to clarify once again that no rent arrears are owed to the Knutsford Town Council and reports to the contrary are factually incorrect.

"While cashflow and other financial pressures are commonplace in the hospitality sector, the CVA with HMRC was implemented to facilitate the business to continue trading from a position of strength, and it is therefore hugely regretful that Knutsford Town Council has prevented this from happening.

"The Belle Epoque has been in communication with brides and bridegrooms at each stage of this process, and no interim payments were taken once the severity of this situation came to light.

"Alternative venue arrangements have been offered and accepted by a large majority of couples, and we will continue to work with them as there is a further court case pending against Knutsford Town Council. We cannot provide further comment at this stage."