£100k agreed for Sudbury Belle Vue Park revamp project to start

A CGI image of the proposed Belle Vue Park entrance in Sudbury

A CGI image of the proposed Belle Vue Park entrance in Sudbury - Credit: BABERGH DISTRICT COUNCIL

Agreement has been given for up to £100,000 to be borrowed to facilitate essential preliminary work on the Sudbury Belle Vue Park entrance revamp if other funding sources can’t be sought.

A fraught debate at Babergh District Council considered whether to approve the £1.12million from the sale of the Belle Vue House to Churchill Retirement Living to be used for work at the park entrance, and whether to agree borrowing of £80,000-100,000 for preliminary work around designs and feasibility.

While the use of the £1.12m for work was rejected by 14 votes to 11 despite securing cabinet backing earlier this month, the council has agreed by 21 votes to three to amended proposals to borrow up to £100,000 for preliminary work only if other sources of funding are not available.

Conservative leader at Babergh’s rainbow cabinet, John Ward said: “Some people don’t approve of our plans and would like to stop them in the hope an alternative can be found.

“However, we have looked at the options for a new entrance and this really does represent the only viable one.

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“It’s something that can be delivered and funded rather than a pie-in-the-sky scheme that would never see the light of day.

“The combined projects [of Belle Vue Park entrance, construction of retirement homes and the conversion of Belle Vue House into private residences] retain and protect the house and deliver the improved park entrance which our exhibition and consultation in January last year showed that the public rightly wanted to see.”

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Conservative cabinet member for economic growth, Michael Holt stressed that the forward funding was only for preliminary work and not any construction work to the entrance, retaining wall, toilets or cafe planned for the area.

Independent councillor Lee Parker, who tabled the amendment to seek other forms of funding for the £100,000 preliminary work before committing to borrowing, told Thursday evening's meeting there was a danger that Churchill may not secure planning permission for the house work that would render the council’s entrance revamp plans incongruous with that.

Independent councillor Margaret Maybury questioned why the contract with Churchill did not require them to carry out the work when the nature of retirement homes meant the developer would not have to provide community infrastructure contributions.

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