Campaigners urge council after hotel plans unveiled: 'Think again'
PUBLISHED: 16:30 02 February 2020 | UPDATED: 18:19 03 February 2020
Campaigners fighting plans to build a hotel and restaurant in Sudbury's Belle Vue Park are urging Babergh District Council to think again about the scheme.
The council this week revealed the first designs for the development as part of a major announcement of plans for the town's future that also include potential uses for the adjoining Belle Vue House.
The budget hotel and restaurant would be built on the site of the former outdoor swimming pool in the park.
Babergh say the scheme will help regenerate the redundant site and attract visitors to the town, boosting the local economy and creating new jobs.
It has sparked fierce debate in Sudbury, with critics saying it will ruin a much-loved public space in the town and the council's method of paying for the scheme - around £7 million and which was approved in 2018 - will cost the tax-payer.
A spokesman for the Facebook group Belle Vue Park: Rescue, Restore and Revive, which has more than 520 members, said: "It is totally unethical to take away a key community recreational space and use it for commercial development; whatever the reason behind it. This space was always intended for use by the community for outdoor recreation and must remain as such.
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"As far as we are aware no actual feasibility study has even been carried out to assess the need for a new hotel in Sudbury and no improvements to the nearby infrastructure has been planned.
"What's more the actual suggested design is hardly fitting for its surroundings and is really unattractive. We would strongly urge Babergh District Council to reconsider before submitting any formal planning applications."
The spokesman said the swimming pool site and the park are both listed as Assets of Community Value.
Campaigners did not believe a new town centre hotel would bring more jobs to the area, while there were also concerns about how local infrastructure such as roads would cope unless there were improvements.
The plans were unveiled at a two day exhibition 'What Next for Sudbury?' which also included findings of a study commissioned by Suffolk County Council, supported by Babergh, that recommends relocating Hamilton Road bus station and redesigning Market Hill as ways of boosting the town's economy.
The hotel and restaurant plans are being shared now ahead of a planning application expected to be submitted in spring 2020.
There will then be a formal consultation period before the planning committee reaches its decision later this year.
Views on all the proposals can be made on the council website.