THE future of the town’s most iconic building could soon be resolved.

Knutsford Town Council invited the local community and business developers to come up with ideas for 60 King Street.

A wedding venue and hotel, Italian bar and restaurant and shops are among the suggestions being put forward.

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Six proposals have been submitted and will be discussed by councillors at a meeting on Monday evening.

The grade II listed property was home of the former Belle Epoque restaurant for 46 years until the council took control in 2019.

The town council had vowed to sell the building last year but gave it a final reprieve in January, to see if anyone was willing to make a last ditch rescue attempt.

Six bids have been received, including one community led proposal, a partnership scheme and four offers to buy the building.

Detailed proposals have been provided to all members of the town council but at this stage they remain confidential.

All six will be debated in public by the full council at a meeting which will be screened live on social media.

Brief details of the bids have been published in a council report attached to the agenda.

Knutsford dad-of-two Jonathan Farber, 50, has spoken publicly about his bid to rescue the dilapidated building.

The media and communications professional has assembled a team of local residents, including Mark Radcliffe, a BBC radio DJ who lives in the town.

Knutsford Guardian: Jonathan Farber and Mark Radcliffe are leading a revival project of residents who all feel passionately about preserving the buildingJonathan Farber and Mark Radcliffe are leading a revival project of residents who all feel passionately about preserving the building (Image: Nick Jones)

They plan to establish a charity incorporated organisation, a CIO, which would lease the property for a peppercorn rent for the first five years.

They intend to apply for grant funding.

A revenue trigger point which would see a return to the town council for capital projects.

The team plans to regenerate the building to create bookable event space, host live music and cultural events and create a new Kings Coffee House.

The second proposal is a partnership between the council and the applicant to ‘reinstate the original vision of Richard Harding Watt to welcome people into the building to socialise, relax and bring the local community together’.

This plan included the reinstatement of the original coffee house concept or using a partner local food and drink operator.

The upper floors would be a hub for local entrepreneurs, start ups and freelances with the existing bedrooms used for local makers and artists.

The proposal does not suggest terms or what the council’s involvement would be but proposes a long term partnership where the proposer would invest £2 million alongside long term maintenance and reinvestment.

The third bid is to buy the building for £650,000 and use it as a high end wedding and event venue with hotel accommodation and private dining whilst also operating it as a daytime business facility.

The fourth offer is to purchase the building for £1,050,000 million and turn it into an Italian bar and restaurant, function room and hotel.

The fifth proposal is for a freehold sale of £1.1 million and is not subject to further surveys.

This bid intends to develop shops and retail on the ground floor with residential accommodation on the first and second floors.

The final proposal is to purchase the building but the buyer has not indicated a value until a further survey is carried out.

This plan would be to create a private members club with work space, offices plus a restaurant and bar.

The town council would maintain ownership of the building in the first two proposals, with a long lease issued to the charity in the first bid and to the business in the second.

The council says the first proposal ‘has no financial backing’ and investment is planned on community support and ongoing fundraising.

The second proposal has strong financial backing which ‘would enable upfront investment in the building’, councillors were told.

From the outline proposal, is not clear whether investment from the town council would required or what involvement would be in the future.

The agenda report states: “From the information provided at this stage, the council would not be able to make a firm decision on the progression of either proposal as the proposals are not sufficiently detailed from the proposers’ side nor the council’s.

“The council could choose a favoured option and meet with the proposer to develop more detail.”

The fourth and fifth bids for the building are in line with the guide price previously quoted by Savills.

The third proposal has discounted the cost of the major repair needed to the kitchen roof from the cost in reaching their valuation.

The sixth bid was a late enquiry and does not include a proposed price.

The agenda report states: “Given the limited number of responses, if the council does with to proceed with a sale it would be recommended that an open market sale takes place.

“Whilst this will incur cost, around one per cent of a final sale cost, it would ensure the council can demonstrates best value was attained for the building.”

Councillors are expected to decide how to proceed once they have discussed all the bids.