SPENDING by Knutsford Town Council is expected to fall by up to £19,000 for the current financial year because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its activities.

The costs to the council are set to reduce due to community events being scaled back or cancelled, civic costs have fallen because of fewer mayoral invitations and there have been fewer requests from local groups for grant support.

Town clerk Adam Keppel-Green said in a report to the finance committee the anticipated underspend as a result of the impact of the pandemic was between £14,000 and £19,000.

He stressed this related purely to the finances which were affected by Covid-19, and was not necessarily indicative of the council’s overall projected year-end position.

This year’s Christmas lights switch-on is set to be scaled back to a live streamed event, and the lantern parade has been cancelled, producing an underspend of £6,000.

The council’s anticipated costs for the year are also set to fall because of a reduced number of grant applications received, (+£6,000), which is likely linked to fewer community events taking place.

Costs are also set to reduce because of the new format for the Pumpkin Path, (+£1,300), the cancellation of the Knutsford Music Festival (+£6,425) and deferring the recruitment of a new civic events officer (+£5,000).

Lockdown restrictions also have resulted in a reduced number of mayoral invitations, and a consequent reduced civic cost (+£1,200).

However the council expects to receive less interest on its investments (-£2,500), and the Christmas Market will be a smaller and less profitable event (-£4,500).

In addition the production of a new town centre map has not been progressed due to restrictions on visitors, with financial implications in terms of anticipated advertising revenue (-£1,500).

The anticipated underspend also includes the cancellation of the annual town meeting and mayor making room hires.

The council has received a £5,000 grant from Cheshire East Council to cover the loss from Knutsford Market Hall when rents were waived for traders during lockdown.