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Should the Town Council purchase Bradshaw House?

Bradshaw House is a grade two listed building located in Lawton Street, Congleton. It is a fine example of a Georgian merchant’s house and was built in 1820 on the site of the home of the notorious Regicide John Bradshaw. It is currently owned by Cheshire East Council, but the site has not been in use for a number of years. Cheshire East is keen to sell the site to release funds and Congleton Town Council has been approached by a number of parties asking it to ‘save’ this prize building and the land that comes with it and enable it to be used for community or suitable commercial purposes rather than potentially being developed for new housing.

A working group has been investigating the feasibility for the Town Council to take out a loan for the purchase,renovation and ongoing maintenance of the building and associated land.  While the asking price of £250,000 appears to be relatively low, initial estimates provided for the renovation are significantly more if they are to be to a standard that retains the true character of the building. It is estimated that a further £500,000 to £750,000 is required to deliver this project.  

This project is not dissimilar to the Town Hall which was acquired by the Town Council in 2008,when it took out two loans totalling £750,000 to renovate and carry out the backlog of work needed on the building. The first loan will be paid off by October 2019. Other assets owned or managed by the Town Hall include the Cenotaph, the Paddling Pool and the Community Gardens

Whether or not to bid to purchase Bradshaw House is a major decision for Congleton Town Council. The timescale is tight as a bid for the property needs to be submitted by the end of January 2019. The positives are that the building would stay in public ownership,protecting its heritage and the valuable green space around it.

The repayments of loans required to purchase Bradshaw House and what is perceived to be the maximum cost or the worst case scenario of renovating, maintaining and managing the building and associated land would need to be funded through the Congleton Town Council Precept. The Precept is the Town or Parish Council share of the Community Tax.If the Town Council were to purchase Bradshaw house the precept in Congleton would increase by a maximum of £13.00 per year for a band D property, which equates to £1.08 per month for the period of the loan which is 15 years.  We are seeking to source loans from Cheshire East Council on the same terms as the loans used to refurbish the Town hall which were interest free. Depending on the future use there maybe grants that are available that could reduce the level of funding commitment required.

Ultimately your elected town councillors will decide on this matter, but as Town Council we want to be as open and as transparent as possible. We are keen to hear your views, before the 27th January, especially whether you would be prepared to increase the precept in order to purchase this building. You can give you views in the following ways:

  1. Answering a quick Survey Monkey click the link here.
  2. Filling in a paper questionnaire that can be picked up from the Tourist Information Centre in the Town Hall or from the Library. 
  3. Emailing your views to info@congletontowncouncil.co.uk
  4. Write to Congleton Town Council, Town Hall, High Street, Congleton, Cheshire CW12 1BN