Fresh plans unveiled for Belle Vue Park, Market Hill and hotel in Sudbury
- Credit: SUDBURY VISION STEERING GROUP
A revamped vision for the future of Sudbury has been unveiled by town leaders, featuring new proposals for Belle Vue Park, a hotel, cinema and restaurants and cafes.
The Sudbury Vision Steering Group at the start of the year outlined plans for the future development of the town, before the Covid-19 pandemic altered the picture.
Now, council chiefs have outlined a fresh vision for the town post-Covid, which encompasses the changes during lockdown.
The plans include a new proposal for Belle Vue Park, to feature an opened-up entrance for visitors, as well as cafe and seating area. The old swimming pool is designated for “flexible use”.
MORE: Belle Vue Park hotel plans shelvedThat replaces the proposals for a hotel on the park, after talks with the proposed occupier collapsed in June.
Instead, a new hotel is being considered for the Hamilton Road quarter, alongside restaurants, cafes and a modern cinema complex.
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In Market Hill, there are proposals to become a fully pedestrianised space for the market, public events and other activities to support retailers and attract visitors.
Leaders behind the masterplan say the feedback from the public in the initial What’s Next for Sudbury? exhibition at the start of the year have been used to inform the new proposals, with a second public exhibition due this autumn online.
Councillor Michael Holt, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth and chairman of the Sudbury Vision Steering Group, said: “We have listened to local businesses and residents on how they want to shape Sudbury town centre and we have used this feedback to develop high quality proposals for Belle Vue Park, the Hamilton Road quarter and Market Hill.
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“We know the local community is passionate about the town and the concepts that have been included in these masterplans provide an opportunity to connect the town for everyone who lives, works and visits.”
It is understood the plan aims to address some of the priorities that have emerged from the coronavirus pandemic, such as a greater reliance on walking and cycling and the need for more support of town centre retailers.
A council spokeswoman said: “The impact of Covid-19, whilst severely impacting businesses and the wider economy, has provided an opportunity to take a fresh, holistic approach to the plans for Belle Vue Park, Hamilton Road and Market Hill by creating better connectivity and co-ordinated site master-planning.
It is understood existing work for the Gainsborough House, Silk Festival and St Peter’s Centre projects will not change.
Belle Vue House
Initial plans for Belle Vue Park had proposed to build a hotel on the old swimming pool site – a stance which proved highly divisive with locals.
That project was understood to be in conjunction with Premier Inn, but in June it emerged that the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic had meant that project had to shelved.
The revamp of Belle Vue Park has also been inherently linked to any future development of Belle Vue House.
Bream Real Estate had been involved in plans for Belle Vue House to be transformed into 15 apartments, but the three proposals now put forward will either see it pulled down entirely or converted to retirement living.
However retirement homes have also been put forward as a possible use for the old swimming pool, while a cafe and community building are also listed for inclusion in the wider park masterplan.
MORE: Sudbury reacts to Belle Vue Park hotel plans collapseHighways changes
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways, Andrew Reid, is among those to be involved in the proposals for the new Sudbury masterplan.
He said: “Being part of the Sudbury Vision Steering Group has given us an opportunity to engage directly with a range of partners on their vision for the town.
“This year we have worked with Babergh District Council and Sudbury Town Council to develop plans for Market Hill and promote cycling through our Active Travel Fund.”
The county council already has a wishlist of 148 routes countywide for upgraded cycle provision.
It has become even more prevalent during the coronavirus lockdown, when more people took to their bikes for exercise or to get to and from places.
The council said the transport upgrades would also include linked improvements such as a new cycle storage facility in town.