Sudbury's Belle Vue Park plans for retirement flats development and new entrance recommended for approval
A pair of major developments shaping the future of Sudbury’s main public park are expected to receive the green light next week.
Plans for a new entrance to Belle Vue Park, off the junction of Cornard Road and Newton Road, has been recommended for approval by Babergh’s planning officers, ahead of the district council committee on Wednesday morning.
The committee will also consider an application to build 41 flats on the park’s disused former swimming pool site, and convert Belle Vue House into two homes, which has similar received an approval recommendation.
The two schemes are closely linked, as the entrance is set to be funded by the proceeds from the sale of land to Churchill Retirement Living, the developer behind the flats development.
Both schemes have proved contentious within the town, with a community petition against the retirement living apartments garnering more than 1,000 signatures.
Sudbury Town Council also expressed its opposition to both application, objecting to the location of the new entrance and highlighting safety concerns about the accompanying pedestrian crossing, due to its proximity to a busy junction.
The town council also described the flats proposal as an over-development that would represent a loss of public open space.
However, in a report prepared for Babergh’s planning committee meeting, case officer Bradly Heffer said they regarded the site as brownfield land.
The report also indicated that Suffolk Highways had not raised safety issues in relation to either application, while concerns about heritage impacts were deemed to have been suitably addressed.
“The council embraces its statutory duties to the historic environment and considerable importance has been attached to the harm to designated heritage assets, with a balanced approach taken to the non-designated asset of Belle Vue House,” said Mr Heffer.
“Nevertheless, the benefits of the development are determined to outweigh those identified harms.
“Furthermore, the benefits of the development – including the major provision of accommodation for older persons – are considered to be particularly weighty such that they decisively outweigh all identified adverse impacts, including to built heritage and the minor loss of parkland.”
On the new entrance, he added: “The location of the entrance in the position shown would create a new focal point for the entrance to the park, within the street.
“In addition, the new entrance would be visible when approached from the west along King Street, notwithstanding that its proposed location would not directly face the street.”
Both applications will be determined by Babergh District Council’s planning committee at Wherstead Park in Ipswich next Wednesday, beginning at 9.30am.