Babergh District Council has unveiled its proposals for hotel and restaurant at the former swimming pool site – designed to boost Sudbury’s economy while also preserving neighbouring Belle Vue Park.
The development would be a significant investment in the town centre, regenerating the redundant site and attracting visitors to the town, giving a lift to the local economy and creating new jobs.
Although fears have been expressed by the local community over the impact of any development to neighbouring Belle Vue Park, the council has repeatedly pledged that the park will remain a valuable green space in the heart of Sudbury, with plans for the site also enhancing access – encouraging more visitors to wander up from the town centre.
Babergh District Council leader Cllr John Ward said: “We have been through an iterative process to come up with the best possible design – creating a suitable ‘gateway’ landmark for Sudbury, whilst also preserving Belle Vue Park for the benefit of its residents and visitors to the town.
“We considered a number of options, including two separate buildings, however this would take up more land – encroaching into Belle Vue Park.
“We do know that some in the local community have concerns and, following discussions with the prospective operator, we now propose a taller, single building design in order to deliver all the promised benefit for Sudbury, while minimising loss of parkland.”
The proposed architecture is contemporary in style, featuring local heritage style brick, timber style cladding and contrasting brick detailing. The restaurant entrance forms the focal point of the building (as viewed from the town centre) with the higher hotel set back.
The building flanks the routes to the park, rather than blocking them, with pedestrian access through the development from both Newton Road and Cornard Road. The design also seeks to retain a wall and existing trees, access to Belle Vue House, and the existing children’s play area.
The planning application is expected to be submitted in Spring 2020 and there will then be a period of formal consultation as part of the planning process before the planning committee reaches its decision at a public meeting later this year.
The funding for the project, through Council borrowing, was approved by Council in September 2018. The debt will be repaid by income generated by the lease of the hotel and restaurant to a commercial operator, who will be legally committed to a long-term lease before any works takes place. The annual costs of borrowing will be less than the rent received, generating additional funds to plough back into services for Babergh.
The plans are being shared ahead of a planning application being submitted so initial comments can be taken onboard via an online survey