A community health and wellbeing centre, sheltered housing with a café and heritage centre, or residential conversions are amongst the options suggested for Belle Vue House in Sudbury.
Babergh District Council invited expressions of interest for future uses of the Victorian house, ahead of a public consultation on the final shortlist of proposals.
However, plans for public engagement over the proposals which were originally due to take place this month have had to be pushed back to the New Year, as pre-election rules mean the Council is not allowed to launch a consultation in the run up to the General Election.
Following an invitation by the council for expressions of interest in the site, two community bids have been submitted. One would see Belle Vue House converted into a community health and wellbeing centre – working with local providers to offer classes, therapies and support to promote local residents’ physical, emotional and mental health. The other would see the house used for private sheltered housing, with the inclusion of a café and heritage centre.
In addition, commercial proposals were also received which proposed the conversion of the building back to residential use.
Babergh District Council had originally hoped to share all shortlisted proposals with residents as part of a wider public consultation over the future of Belle Vue later this month – but the announcement of a general election forced a change of plan.
Instead, the council will be working with all interested parties over coming weeks to seek any necessary clarifications on their bids before sharing all four options in more detail in January. The public consultation in the New Year will also include an update on plans for the proposed hotel and restaurant on the neighbouring site at Belle Vue, as well as ideas for future investment in the park itself.
Babergh District Council’s Assistant Director for Assets and Investments, Emily Atack said: “It’s great that community groups and commercial interests have invested time and effort into developing proposals and we’re keen to share these as soon as possible so that everyone can see and understand exactly what they would mean for Sudbury – but we also want to be sure that everyone has a fair chance to have their say. We can’t go out to consultation in the run up to an election, and don’t want to consult immediately afterwards over Christmas, when people may be busy or away.”
Public feedback, together with consideration of any financial implications will then help councillors reach their final decision over the future of Belle Vue House, while comments on plans for the proposed hotel and restaurant will be taken into consideration ahead of a planning application – which will now be submitted early next year to allow time for public engagement. Further public consultation on the proposed hotel and restaurant will then follow as part of the formal planning process.
“By giving everyone opportunity to see and comment on plans for Belle Vue, we can ensure that we’re working together to come up with the best possible solution for residents, businesses and visitors to Sudbury,” said Emily.
Further information regarding Belle Vue is available on our website.