'Unacceptable': Anger at Belle Vue House consultation

Belle Vue House, Sudbury. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Belle Vue House in Sudbury could be sold off under new plans - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Town councillors have criticised what they described as a lack of consultation over a vision to dispose of part of Sudbury's iconic Belle Vue Park.

Sudbury Town Council held extraordinary meeting on Monday to discuss Babergh District Council's plans to dispose of Belle Vue House and much of the former swimming pool site in the park. 

The site is currently being marketed, with bids set to be reviewed in the new year. 

An advert announcing the site's sale suggested that, subject to planning conditions, the area could be used for offices, residential properties, a hotel or more. 

Last week Babergh District Council said that it had put the land up for sale in order to understand its potential and that its plans for Sudbury as a result of the pandemic. 

Those opposing the plans have been given until January 8 to send their objections to Babergh. 

However, town councillors said they were not given enough warning about the proposed change and said that the timing of the announcement could not have been worse. 

Jack Owen is angry about the early switch-off. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Mayor of Sudbury Jack Owen was unhappy with the plans - Credit: Archant

"The fact that it is over the Christmas period is absolutely scandalous," said mayor of Sudbury and county councillor Jack Owen.

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"It seems to me that the steering group is an absolute waste of time."

"It's unacceptable pushing this through in such uncertain times," said councillor Steve Hall. 

"How Babergh is approaching this is flawed," said councillor Nigel Bennett.

Town councillor and member of Babergh cabinet, Jan Osborne, said that the bids for the site would not be simply looked at in terms of monetary value. 

Instead she said that the financial viability, the deliverability of the bid and what would be best for Sudbury would be the key areas looked at in each bid. 

Belle Vue swimming pool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Belle Vue swimming pool. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The council voted almost unanimously to pass a motion objecting to the manner in which Babergh had made the announcement.

"There has been no consultation with Sudbury Town Council on this plan, either through the Sudbury Steering Group or directly, and the timing of the notice could be seen as an attempt to clear this through over the Christmas period when people are occupied elsewhere," read the motion.