Decision made on future of Belle Vue House in Sudbury

 An artist’s impression of how the entrance to Belle Vue Park could look. Picture: Babergh District Council

An artist’s impression of how the entrance to Belle Vue Park could look. Picture: Babergh District Council - Credit: Babergh District Council

Belle Vue House in Sudbury will be sold off to be revamped as housing with retirement properties, councillors have agreed.

Babergh District Council's cabinet on Thursday night chose the successful bidder out of six for a 0.43 hectare portion of the site, which includes Belle Vue House and the car park, as well as part of the pool site.

Belle Vue House will become two residential properties, while new-build retirement living will be created on the pool site.

The council will retain the other part of the pool area to create a new accessible park entrance with a cafe and new toilets.

Money from the sale of the house will be used to fund the new entrance.

The cabinet voted by six votes to two in favour of that proposal. Other bids included proposals for a new care home or housing on the pool portion.

There were also proposals for Belle Vue House to become a site for community use or short-term lets.

Councillor Michael Holt, cabinet member for economic growth, said the plans drew on feedback from the engagement event held in January 2020, and "reflects what people at that engagement event wanted to see for Belle Vue Park".

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He added: "It's a difficult decision because it's an important part of Sudbury. This is our chance to show we care, it's about delivering for Sudbury.

"I believe this opportunity to choose a scheme out of six bidders is an important step for Sudbury to show that we mean business and hold Sudbury close to our heart."

The council had been pursuing plans to bring a hotel and restaurant to the former pool area.

However, those talks collapsed last summer when the economic impact of Covid-19 forced the hotel chain to walk away from the deal.

That prompted a fresh marketing campaign between December and February in which six bids were put forward.

However, the plans have attracted objections from parts of the community.

Concerns included claims that marketing was not wide enough to attract the best bids, perceived lack of community engagement, loss of open space and claims that the council has neglected the site.

Sudbury Town Council said there has been "no consultation with Sudbury Town Council on this plan, either through the steering group or directly".

Belle Vue Community Group said: "There has been continual opposition from the Sudbury community every time Babergh puts this land up for development sale."

More details on the bid and the successful firm are set to be unveiled over the coming weeks and months.