Peer speaks out over future of historic Belle Vue House
PUBLISHED: 07:30 16 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:13 20 September 2019
Leading Suffolk politician Lord Andrew Phillips has weighed into the debate over the future of an historic Victorian building in Sudbury.
In a letter published in today's East Anglian Daily Times, former Liberal Democrat MP, member of the House of Lords and president of The Sudbury Society, Lord Andrew Phillips, has asked Babergh District Council to save historic Belle Vue House.
Jointly signed by Professor John French, chair of the society, the letter addresses proposals made by Babergh, which owns the Victorian building, which would see it sold for conversion into private accommodation and a hotel and pub/restaurant built on a derelict outdoor pool and a small corner of the park.
The letter confirms the objection by The Sudbury Society to the "fundamental principle" of a proposal by Sudbury Town Council to Babergh that it would prefer to see the house demolished as a way of reducing the amount of the park that would need to be built on.
The pair say that removing the building is not "in the spirit of retaining our heritage assets" which would help to "support the future prosperity" of Sudbury.
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During its 148 year history Belle Vue House has served as a private residence, a military hospital, council offices, magistrates court and as a meeting and exhibition centre.
Following a full meeting of Sudbury Town Council in August, councillors approved a resolution to BDC asking that the house should give way to the hotel.
Following the meeting, Mayor of Sudbury Robert Spivey, said: "We decided that while a hotel would be a good thing for Sudbury the proposal that Babergh District Council is preparing would take up too much of the park.
"All the information we have for Belle Vue House is that so far there has been no proposal that would make good use of it, so we came to the conclusion that it would be better for the hotel to move and for access to the park to be improved."
However, The Sudbury Society believes that the house need not be demolished. They say that it could provide a "stylish" venue for a hotel reception room and restaurant.
Concluding the letter, the society pointed out that they "appreciate how difficult being a Councillor or Official is" but asked the town council to "save and imaginatively use" Belle Vue House.
For more details or to share views about the plan go to the Babergh Council website.