Sudbury: Consultation criticised for lack of options for Belle Vue House

The council is to discuss the future of Belle Vue House in Sudbury. The council is to discuss the future of Belle Vue House in Sudbury.

Emma Brennan West Suffolk chief reporter emma.brennan@archant.co.uk
Monday, August 18, 2014
12:19 PM

The consultation over the future of an award-winning park in west Suffolk has been criticised as a “fait accompli”.

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Detailed plans about the proposed future of Belle Vue Park in Sudbury went on display last week at a series of public events. The proposals from Sudbury Steering Group include improvements to the park and former swimming pool area, re-equipping and enhancing the existing facilities and upgrading access.

However, they do not give any options for retaining historic Belle Vue House, which has angered some local people. The house, which was originally built in the 1780s by Nathaniel Burrough, a retired grocer related to the family of Thomas Gainsborough, is a well known Sudbury landmark but it is not heritage listed. It currently houses the Citizens’ Advice Bureau but the building is in need of significant repair.

Many community members believe the house should be preserved and converted into a community facility, but this is not one of the options being explored. Babergh District Council, which owns the house and park, is also believed to be in the final stages of negotiations with Premier Inn to build a hotel and restaurant on the former swimming pool site next to Belle Vue Park, further fuelling suggestions that Belle Vue House will be demolished.

About 50 people attended the first two consultation sessions at the town hall last week. Town councillor John Sayers, who helped to run the event, said there was a relatively low turn- out. He added: “I’m afraid there is a certain amount of apathy towards the regeneration because people think it’s a done deal that Belle Vue House will be knocked down as it is not a focus of the consultation.”

Nigel Bennett, chairman of the steering group, denied that the park’s future was a “fait accompli”. He said: “Nothing has been decided yet and hence why we are holding these consultation sessions. But, realistically we can’t keep subsidising Belle Vue House and it would take £250,000 to bring it up to spec. If the decision is eventually made to dispose of the site, any capital received would be kept in the town.”

The final consultation is on Saturday, from noon to 3pm, in Belle Vue Park.

1 comment

  • What a massive mistake Sudbury will be making to approve a hotel on the site of the former swimming pool. The idea of opening the park up to the town centre could easilly be made reality if the entrance to the park is redesigned in such a way access is gained directly from the roundabout. Sudburians forget about Belle Vue Park being there (probably the reason for the low turn out) when in the town centre, it's out of sight and out of mind. If fellow Sudburians forget about it what luck do the tourists have in finding it? If you were able to see the park from the town centre, Belle Vue Park could become a far more welcoming and far better used park by the public and could be a real asset to the town centre. If a multi national chain hotel wants to build a hotel in Sudbury, they will do regardless where it is. Why not let them purchase Belle Vue House with the conditions that the historical frame of the building be kept and ultalise this lovely building to home it's hotel. Come on Sudbury Town Council, get some brains knocking together and make something of this underused park right in the heart of our town centre!!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Shauny

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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