New cafe and toilets planned for Belle Vue after hotel plans scrapped

 An artist’s impression of how the entrance to Belle Vue Park could look. Picture: Babergh District Council

An artist’s impression of how the entrance to Belle Vue Park could look. Picture: Babergh District Council - Credit: Babergh District Council

A new cafe could be built at Belle Vue as part of fresh regeneration plans being drawn up after proposals to build a budget hotel and restaurant were shelved because of Covid.

The council has now gone back to the open market to seek proposals for the future of a 0.43 hectares site comprising Belle Vue House, a car park and part of the old swimming pool complex.

No part of Belle Vue Park is included but the southern section of the old swimming pool site will be retained by Babergh District Council and the plan is to use this to create a new park entrance with space for a new café, toilet facility and improved public realm.

A spokesman for Babergh District Council said: “The ambition has always been to transform this council-owned land in order to help rejuvenate the town and the council has now gone back out to the open market to explore what options exist post-Covid.” 

It is hoped regenerations plans will better connect the park to Sudbury town centre.  

Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth Michael Holt, who is also chairman of the Sudbury Vision Steering Group, said: “Despite having to revisit our plans for Sudbury because of the impact Covid-19, I am pleased we are now in a position to consider new opportunities.  

“There are many initiatives being driven forward in Sudbury which support businesses, the incredible cultural offer as well as leisure activities.  

Cllr Michael Holt

Babergh District Councillor Michael Holt believes the the Council's decisions will be a boost for Sudbury. - Credit: Babergh District Council

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“All of which will provide a boost for Sudbury, helping it to continue to be an attractive place to live, work and visit for many years to come.” 

Babergh District Council is exploring external funding streams. However, a council report recommends that the council divert up to 100% from the sale of the land which includes Belle Vue House and the majority of the former swimming pool site to be used for the creation of the new park entrance.  

The marketing process was open, meaning both commercial and community organisations had the opportunity to submit a proposal that met the criteria which included long term sustainability, price and deliverability.  

However local resident Stuart Poole believes that Babergh District Council do not have the town's interests as their number one priority.  

He said: “They are not really bothered about the history of the place at all. 

“I can remember that park as it was and it was a thriving place, we had all the play equipment in the correct area and it was all in front of the lovely view of the house."

Mr Poole who has been visiting the park since he was seven wants to see the house retained. He said: " I have been fighting this for about three or four years and I don’t want the house to go."

Stuart Poole address the crowd at the rally Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Stuart Poole address the crowd at the rally Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Mr Poole outlines how we would like to see Belle Vue House reopened. 

He said: “You could have a registry office in there and then on the right hand side we were thinking, if it was run as a community venue you could have a place registered for people to get married in and then during the week you could have a nicely built conservatory with a café run there.

“You could also rent out the upstairs offices to create a bit more revenue." 

Other initiatives being developed as part of the Sudbury Vision include potential for more pedestrian-friendly and improved flexible space around Market Hill.  

The bids, along with any objections formally submitted in relation to the disposal of public open land, will be considered by Babergh District Council in the cabinet meeting on March 11. 

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