'Demolish Belle Vue House' - Sudbury Town Council shock recommendation
PUBLISHED: 20:56 22 August 2019 | UPDATED: 23:00 22 August 2019
Controversial plans to build a hotel in Sudbury's Belle Vue Park have taken a new twist.
Town councillors say that Belle Vue House, a 19th century building, should be demolished to make way for the hotel.
Under current proposals by Babergh District Council (BDC), which owns the house, it would be sold for conversion into private accommodation.
A hotel and pub/restaurant would be built on a derelict outdoor pool and a small corner of the park.
But following an extraordinary full meeting of the town council, councillors approved a resolution to BDC asking that the house should give way to the hotel.
Mayor of Sudbury Robert Spivey said: "We decided that while a hotel would be a good thing for Sudbury the proposal that Babergh District Council is preparing would take up too much of the park.
"All the information we have for Belle Vue House is that so far there has been no proposal that would make good use of it, so we came to the conclusion that it would be better for the hotel to move and for access to the park to be improved."
Mr Spivey said the town council recognised the scheme had been a divisive issue in the town which was why it was also stipulating to BDC that people who felt they had a viable alternative should be given all the information they needed to make their case.
A public meeting held for this purpose on Monday invited local people to do so.
Local businessman Barry Drury, who has previously tried to buy the house, said he wants to buy Belle Vue House and gift it to the community with the site being preserved in a trust.
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Sudbury Belle Vue Community Group also proposed creating a charitable trust to preserve the house and use it for events such as weddings, and also providing 'hot desk' offices.
The Town Council resolution has now been sent to Babergh District Council for consideration.
But Stuart Poole, who has campaigned against the proposals, described the idea to demolish Belle Vue as "shocking".
"The house in Belle Vue Park has to stay," he said.
"The people of Sudbury are being held to ransom by two options; a great big hotel in the park, or don't build in the park and knock down Belle Vue House.
"Either is unacceptable. Sudbury does not need a hotel in its park."
BDC is preparing a formal planning application which is expected to be made in the autum.
Council leader John Ward said: "We welcome the views of Sudbury Town Council as well as the wider community as we continue to work up detailed proposals for the redevelopment for a hotel and restaurant at Belle Vue.
"We are working towards submitting a planning application later this year for the hotel and restaurant, which will allow everyone to see the plans in detail and understand exactly how the development would benefit the area.
"We are, however, still open to alternative options for the future of Belle Vue House and will be staging a further period of public consultation next month, inviting interested parties to put forward proposals.
"In the meantime, we remain committed to the future enhancement of Belle Vue Park as a valuable green space for Sudbury and look forward to being able have more meaningful and detailed conversations with Sudbury residents over coming months about the future of the whole of Belle Vue."