Vision for Sudbury reveals plans for a new cinema in heart of town centre

Sudbury town centre including the Thomas Gainsborough statue. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Sudbury town centre including the Thomas Gainsborough statue. Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Gregg Brown

A new blueprint for the long-term future of Sudbury has revealed plans for a new cinema in the heart of the town centre as part of a regeneration project.

The Sudbury Vision for Prosperity document, which was launched on Thursday by Babergh District Council, sets out plans for a number of projects with the hope of “cementing the town as a major force” in Suffolk’s economy.

The action plan has revealed proposals for the Hamilton Road quarter, which will be regenerated into a leisure development with shops, cafes and homes and a cinema at its heart.

Plans were also unveiled for Belle Vue Park with the former swimming pool and a small part of the park set to be developed into a hotel – and details will be considered by Babergh’s cabinet this summer.

The vision document also sets out plans for the future of Belle Vue House, which is to be sold separately and redeveloped into residential housing.

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The Borehamgate precinct is to be retained and given a facelift and buses will stop on-street instead of at a bus station, according to the proposals.

John Ward, leader of Babergh District Council, said: “Babergh District Council is leading the renaissance in Sudbury and its surrounding area as part of a new drive for investment and growth district-wide.

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“We’re encouraging businesses, providing improved facilities for residents and visitors, developing the night-time economy, and cementing the town as a major force in Suffolk’s economic portfolio.

“New investment in a hotel, cinema, better retail, more places to eat out, and improved parking will ensure Sudbury lives up to its potential.”

The document also includes a timeline, with information on when action is expected for projects.

An alternative site is being sought for Hardwick House Surgery and the council says it will be announced by the end of the year.

Work on a £1.4million refurbishment at Kingfisher Leisure Centre in the town – including a two-storey extension with a dance studio and community space – will also begin in the autumn.

Sue Ayres, mayor of Sudbury, said: “We’re thrilled that these big-ticket projects are starting to come to fruition, ending a period of uncertainty with a clear, ambitious suite of major investments.

“These will deliver new jobs, leisure opportunities, homes and an injection into our town centre to bring more people in.”

Timeline for projects

Unlike previous plans for Sudbury, the district council has released a timeline for completion of projects included in the regeneration scheme.

However no date has been given for when a cinema is likely to open.

Projects set out in the document that are due to be discussed or come to fruition in the next three years include the town’s parking strategy and possible charges, plus a review of lorry parking provision, which is currently in Station Road, close to Waitrose.

A full assessment of available options for a Sudbury western bypass should be complete by next spring.

Meanwhile options for a new household waste recycling centre, which is likely to be relocated to the Chilton Woods development, should be complete by 2020.

The new world-class multi-million pound Gainsborough’s House gallery and museum is scheduled to be open by 2021.

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