Meeting hears plans for Belle Vue Park
PUBLISHED: 23:06 20 March 2019 | UPDATED: 20:45 21 March 2019
Controversial proposals to develop part of Belle Vue Park in Sudbury came under scrutiny at the town council’s annual meeting.
Around 100 people gathered at Sudbury Town Hall to hear Cllr John Ward, leader of Babergh District Council, talk about its plans for a budget hotel, a pub/restaurant and a car park on part of the park.
There were occasional jeers and barracking from opponents of the scheme in the audience during an hour-long session on Wednesday night where Cllr Ward outlined the proposals and took questions from the floor.
The council says the scheme will regenerate a rundown corner of the town centre and provide much needed hotel accommodation to the town as well as boost the economy.
There is support in the town for the proposals but they are also opposed by many, who accuse the council of having already “made up its mind” that it should go ahead.
They say it is the wrong place for such a hotel, will undermine existing B&B businesses and hotels, generate more traffic, and pose a risk to families having to negotiate the car park to access the park itself.
Cllr Ward told the meeting: “This site has been derelict for far too long and since 2015 Babergh has wanted to so something about that, and for Sudbury in general.
“We need to attract visitors to the town. We need hotel accommodation. There’s growing demand for it all all over the county, not just in Sudbury.”
But protestor Stuart Poole, who is leading a campaign against the scheme, said the council was missing “a once in a lifetime” opportunity to improve traffic around the area and bring Belle Vue House and the park back into proper use after being allowed to decay in recent years.
He said afterwards: “As far as the council is concerned the deal is sealed.”
A protest rally has been organised at Belle Vue Park on April 6.
This week the council published a factsheet with details on its proposals for Belle Vue Park, which will see the derelict former swimming pool and a small part of the space built on.
The potential area for development includes the derelict former swimming pool, land where the vandalised aviaries stood, the existing toilet block, a former boiler house and diesel tank, Belle Vue House car park and a small children’s play area.
The council has pledged to preserve Belle Vue House and the park as a green space and says there will be “no net loss of amenities”.
Detailed plans are now being prepared for a planning application later this year.