KNUTSFORD Town Council is to reconsider whether or not sell the iconic 60 King Street building.

Recently known as Kings Coffee House, the building, which was the home of the former La Belle Epoque restaurant for 46 years, has lain empty for three years.

A public consultation was launched in May to come up with ideas on what the building, could be used for.

But at the latest assets and operations committee meeting, councillors discussed the possibility of selling the building as potential community uses were deemed 'unsustainable'.

Cllr Neil Forbes said: “I’ve always been of the view that we should sell it.

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“If it goes back to being a Bijou hotel and wedding venue, we will be in competition with the one round the corner.

“Our objective is to make it as least sustainable financially. I can’t see that happening.

“The community says it can’t be left to rot. We should do something.

“The community wants more community rooms. There is a missing supply of youth facilities in this town.

”I can’t see any of these things creating sufficient revenue to cover its costs.”

Cllr Christopher Gray said: “To convert that building into any number of uses, the cost is going to be astronomical.

“There are a large number of unknowns. The value of it is going down almost daily because the cost of repairing it goes up.

“Action needs to be taken soon. I can’t see how, with all the money in the world, the council can make the building sustainable.”

The Grade II listed building is owned by the town council, which is working on a major heritage funding bid to restore and regenerate the deteriorating building.

Cllr James McCulloch added: “It’s taken a heck of a long time to get this in front of us. The working group still hasn’t met. The building is rotting.

“The consensus in the town is what on earth is the council doing with this building? You’ve had it for three years and you’ve done nothing.

“My mind has changed. The amount of time it is taking to review, see what different bits can be used for the community.

“It is going to take the time of one employed person to go through it, market it, survey it and find funds for it.

“I think we should sell it.”

Town clerk Adam Keppel-Green confirmed that a couple of enquiries had been received from estate agents about the property.

If the building was sold, he said the proceeds must be spent on capital expenditure.

Cllr Andrew Malloy said: “I think we need to keep all of our options open.

“We need to have everything in balance and see what’s best.

“If we suddenly decide to lurch towards selling the building, it’s another six months, time is ticking.

“The cost of the building next year is not inconsiderable, the amount of money we are spending on it, grants to secure more grants.

“A lot of work needs to be done.”

Cllr Peter Coan said: “It is an asset to the town. In whatever guise it will emerge as, the town council has control should we choose to sell it.

“The money we get from it can only be spent on improving other existing assets.

“Improving Wallwood, the cemetery, council offices, the market hall.

“By selling one building to refurbish another might be a good idea or a bad idea.”

Members agreed to formally consider all options for the building at the next assets committee meeting on November 21.