'Build a cinema' call to land owners

A MAYOR has called on the new owners of a sought-after piece of town centre land to build a cinema to keep youngsters off the streets.

Dave Gooderham

A MAYOR has called on the new owners of a sought-after piece of town centre land to build a cinema to keep youngsters off the streets.

John Sayers claimed a cinema in Sudbury was on the “wish-list” of everyone living in and around the town.

And he has pinpointed a derelict area of wasteland as an ideal spot after it was purchased by local builders - from under the noses of Babergh District Council.

The site, in Francis Road, next to the town's bus station, was set to be snapped up by the council as part of a swap deal - which would have seen the authority relinquish its land at Belle Vue Park.

This proposal was met with horror by residents in the town as it could have led to the demolition of the historic Belle Vue House and the loss of a section of the valued park.

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But the deal - between the council and McCarthy and Stone, which owned the derelict land - has been scuppered by Sudbury-based builders Addison and Byford with Babergh admitting that no “immediate decision” would now be taken on Belle Vue's future.

Sudbury mayor John Sayers said: “If this move takes the pressure off Belle Vue House then everyone in the town will be jumping with joy.

“Although it is pure speculation at the moment, I would love to see the derelict land used for a cinema. This is something we need for the young people in the town to get them off the streets. It would be a wonderful facility and I am sure it is something on everyone's wish-list in Sudbury.”

Planners at Babergh had earmarked the land for shops but it was not clear what Addison and Byford would like to do with its new asset.

A council spokesman confirmed the sale and the fact that a land swap would now not take place. But he said moves to sell part of Belle Vue Park for the Hardwick House GP Practice would continue.

The spokesman said: “The new owners of the Francis Road site have already approached Babergh with a view to securing a meeting aimed at allowing them to outline their potential development plans. Negotiations surrounding the derelict swimming pool site are continuing and making steady progress. The outcome of the negotiation are expected to be finalised in the early spring of 2009.”

No one from Addison and Byford was available for comment yesterday.

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