Decision details

Knuston Hall

Decision Maker: Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Decision:

RESOLVED

 

KEY DECISION

 

That the Executive:

 

a)    Approved the preparation and launch of a marketing campaign to offer the site for sale on the open market.

 

b)    Delegated authority to the Executive Member for Highways, Travel & Assets in consultation with the Assistant Director of Assets & Environment to authorise the completion of the land sale and finalise sale terms.

 

 

Reasons for Recommendations

 

·         Knuston Hall is a Grade II listed heritage asset, which is currently run as a residential adult learning centre within the Assets & Environment service.  It has, until recently, provided conference facilities and short courses. Revenue investment is required in the hall which combined  with a limited market demand has meant that the Hall’s current use is no longer viable as an asset of the Council.

·         As a Grade II listed heritage asset, the Hall is protected through planning, associated heritage land and property policy. The Council will, therefore, as the Local Planning Authority continue to regulate development of the site. 

·         The asset requires investment and, without a viable local authority use, it is not considered appropriate to invest public funds.

·         The Council supports Chester House Estate, which is less than three miles away from Knuston Hall, and this could provide an alternative location for conferencessupported by the Hall with accommodation located close to the Estate.

·         There is opportunity to redeploy the staff employed at Knuston Hall to suitable alternative employment within the Council, following a consultation process; a redundancy situation does not therefore arise.

·         Whilst the council provides an Adult Learning service as part of its core business, the residential service provided at Knuston Hall is separate to this. Running a hotel service is not part of the Council’s core business

 

 

Alternative options considered:

 

·         To use the site for alternative Council uses, such as a public care home. The Hall does not comply with the regulations for such uses and has, limited development options imposed by the heritage status

 

·         The site has limited infill residential development opportunity. It is not suitable for Council housing use.

 

·         The site could be continued to be operated as a residential learning centre, under the current business model, however, as detailed in the report and appendices, this would require significant upfront and ongoing investment in the building and the business model, which is not considered an appropriate use of public funds.

 

·         Options have been considered for alternative Council uses but without expending substantial public funds the Council can only sustain a limited number of heritage assets and without a viable use; it is not in the public interest to commit funding to Knuston Hall.

 

 

Publication date: 27/09/2022

Date of decision: 15/09/2022

Decided at meeting: 15/09/2022 - Executive

Effective from: 05/10/2022

Accompanying Documents: