Sudbury Town Council working group sets out wish list for future development of Belle Vue Park
With the future of Belle Vue Park one of the big issues facing Sudbury, town councillors have urged Babergh District Council to heed its views, before any land purchase bid or development is approved.
Sudbury Town Council has set out its formal position on how the park should be developed going forward, after forming a working group in response to the district council’s plans to sell part of the parkland.
A parcel of land, including Belle Vue House and part of the disused former swimming pool site, was openly marketed by the district council in December, with the period for bids closing on Friday.
The town council’s working group has now set out two key points, after canvassing the views of councillors and a number of community groups, that it wants Babergh’s cabinet to factor into its decision.
Firstly, it wants to see the front of Belle Vue Park opened up to better integrate the park with the town centre, stating that part of the land up for sale would be needed to facilitate this.
In addition, the group has called for Belle Vue House to be maintained “as far as possible” and, if this cannot be achieved, any development must be delivered sensitively and not extend the existing building mass.
Sudbury town councillor Robert Spivey, chairman of the Belle Vue working group, told the Free Press: “We felt we needed to put this forwards. We wanted to make clear what we felt should be done
“We’re integrating these views with community groups to show this is not just the town council saying this. We’ve got a consistent view. What we’re proposing is a solution that we’d like taken into consideration.
“The first motion is to open up Belle Vue Park. Particularly when you look down King Street, we want an open vista down into the park. Right now, you just see a big wall.
“I think, in the future, there will be more emphasis on leisure. We can see the direction retail is going, so we want a more integrated park to draw people to the town.
“The second motion was, as far as possible, we want to maintain Belle Vue House. If there is any development, it should be sensitive to the architecture of the house.
“To some degree, Babergh is looking to make a return on Belle Vue House, but whether it is flats or a retirement home, we still want the spirit of the house to be retained.”
Babergh District Council’s move to market a portion of Belle Vue came after a proposed hotel development collapsed last year, with the authority stating the process would help understand the land’s potential.
A Babergh spokeswoman said: “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic forced us to revisit our plans for land around Belle Vue, and following a review of the masterplan, it was decided to take forward two opportunities.
“The first was to develop plans and identify funding streams to relocate and improve the entrance to Belle Vue Park, to better connect it the town centre and other public spaces across Sudbury.
“The second action was to explore how the land around Belle Vue House and part of the old swimming pool site could be best utilised.
“All bids received will be reported to cabinet for consideration at its next meeting on March 11.”