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Sale of Sudbury's Belle Vue House and former swimming pool site agreed with retirement living developer

The sale of Sudbury's Belle Vue House and surrounding land has been agreed with a commercial developer, which plans to transform the site for private housing and retirement living.

Contracts were exchanged between Babergh District Council and Churchill Retirement Living this week, on an agreement to sell the historic house and the disused former swimming pool site at Belle Vue.

Churchill's proposal to convert Belle Vue House into residential accommodation and build 46 self-contained retirement living apartments with communal facilities on the old pool site was selected by Babergh's cabinet earlier this year, out of six bids to buy the land.

Belle Vue House in Sudbury...Picture by Mecha Morton .. (44964316)
Belle Vue House in Sudbury...Picture by Mecha Morton .. (44964316)

Martin Bessant, regional managing director for Churchill Retirement Living, said: "We are delighted to have secured this excellent site for a new development that will meet the housing needs of older people in Sudbury and the surrounding area.

"Our new apartments will help improve the health and wellbeing of those who live there, creating a vibrant new community in the heart of town and enabling people to enjoy an independent, active lifestyle for longer."

The authority marketed the land following the collapse of hotel and restaurant plans last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and intends to use all of the proceeds to fund a new open public space for the park entrance, with a new café and toilet facilities.

The process has proved contentious in portions of the Sudbury community, with an action group currently preparing a formal legal challenge against the sale.

But, Babergh District Council insists the sale does not include Belle Vue Park, which it claims will remain a valuable green asset for the town for generations to come.

Cllr Michael Holt, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, said: “The exchange of contracts with Churchill Retirement Living is a positive step forward in securing the future of Belle Vue House back to its original use as homes, as well as supporting our wider vision for Sudbury.

"The introduction of new homes in the heart of the town will improve the economic vitality of the area including the local businesses, shops and restaurants."

Cllr David Busby, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for assets and investments, added: “Creating an open, welcoming entrance for Belle Vue Park with a café and new toilet facilities will improve not only the experience for visitors to the park, but will also improve the connection between the park and the town centre, creating a place where people want to live, work and visit for many years to come.”