Improvements to Belle Vue Park welcomed by local community
Over 250 people in Sudbury and the surrounding area contributed to Babergh District Council’s public consultation about the future of Belle Vue Park held earlier this autumn.
The aim of the public consultation was to understand the views and opinions of local people and users of the park based on design concepts for a new park entrance, café, toilets, and other park facilities such as a relocated play area and improved accessibility.
During the two-day event held in Belle Vue Park, visitors viewed the concept designs in person with 190 submitting their feedback on the future of the park. Following the event, the designs were displayed in Borehamgate Precinct and online allowing a further 93 responses to be submitted through the website.
Overall, the plans for improving the entrance of the park were welcomed with 73% of respondents stating that an improved and accessible entrance would increase park usage.
66% of respondents visit the park weekly (30%) or monthly (36%) with only 6% visiting daily and the remaining respondents visiting occasionally. When asked whether the improvement would increase frequency and length of visits, 72% agreed.
The feedback, which included space for free comment, will be reviewed and used to inform a masterplan for the park which can be delivered over the next 5 years.
A number of elements were included within the survey and respondents were asked to rank their importance. Having new toilets with accessible features was ranked as the most important factor of park improvements followed by improved play area and equipment (for all ages) and new café.
When thinking about the new café, the top priority was location and integrated toilet facilities followed by sightlines to the play areas and indoor and outdoor spaces (with accessibility for wheelchairs and buggy users).
Views were also sought on connectivity around the park with accessible routes ranking as the top priority followed by attractions and activities (such as sensory and formal gardens) and seating stops along the route.
A significant element of the masterplan will be the new entrance to the park that will create a space that is welcoming and accessible for all and the introduction of a new café and toilet facilities. A planning application for these elements will be submitted by the end of the year.
Cllr Michael Holt, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, said:
“I would like to thank those people that took the time to come along to the consultation event and share their views both in person and online on the future of the Belle Vue Park. All the feedback and responses will now be reviewed and used to inform a masterplan for the park that will ensure the park will welcome visitors for many years to come.”
Over the last few years, Belle Vue Park has received significant investment including a new multi-use games area and skatepark as well as new equipment and landscaping in the children’s play area.
Funding for the new park entrance and other park improvements will come from up to 100% of the receipt of the sale of Belle Vue House and part of the old swimming pool site as agreed by Babergh District Council cabinet earlier this year.