Sudbury: Town enters bid to preserve historic Belle Vue House

Belle Vue House in Sudbury

Belle Vue House in Sudbury - Credit: Archant

Sudbury Town Council wants to work with partner agencies to preserve historic Belle Vue House as a public amenity.

The house, which was originally built in the 1780s by Nathaniel Burrough, a retired grocer related to the family of Thomas Gainsborough, is a prominent landmark in the town’s Belle Vue Park. The council has already registered its interest in acquiring the Babergh District Council-owned property as a community asset under the Localism Act.

The district authority has budgeted £800,000 over two years to be spent on the house. But the work will only be carried out if a sustainable future for the premises is established.

Town councillors recently held an extraordinary meeting to discuss their business plan for the site. They decided it would not be viable for the town council to take over ownership of the building in its current state, but they would consider managing the house if suitable tenants were found.

They want to investigate the possibility of working with organisations such as Gainsborough’s House, that could take on ownership of Belle Vue House and transform it into a visitor attraction. Ideas for possible use put forward so far include an art gallery, cafe or wedding venue.

If the shared option is not viable, then Sudbury Town Council would like Babergh to retain ownership of the property and either renovate or rebuild it for commercial and community use. At the meeting, council members requested that any leasing agreement with a company or organisation should contain strict conditions to ensure part of the houses is retained for community use. If the house is knocked down and rebuilt, the council wants some of the features, such as the façade facing into the gardens and the stained glass window, to be retained and used as part of the new build. Councillor John Sayers said: “We also want to get something in place to make sure we safeguard the long term future of current Belle Vue House tenants, including the Hub youth centre and Citizens Advice Bureau.”