Could Sudbury’s historic Belle Vue House be saved after all?
Historic Victorian building Belle Vue House in Sudbury could now be retained according to Babergh district councillor Simon Barrett.
There has been heavy criticism of the decision by Babergh District Council to sell off the property, which had looked like it was going to be sold to budget hotel chain Premier Inn.
Babergh had agreed that the property could be knocked down for redevelopment, and it was recently rejected for listed building status by Historic England.
However at the Sudbury Town Council meeting on Tuesday Mr Barrett surprised councillors by saying ahead of an impending review that the building may be saved.
He said: “We have interest in developing the site. We are trying to keep Belle Vue House in its current state without it being knocked down, which is the great fear.”
Asked by fellow councillor Jack Owen whether this was a U-turn Mr Barrett replied: “No, what we’ve always said is that we just wanted it to be viable.
“The proposals that were coming forward were that they couldn’t make it viable. We always wanted to preserve the house.
“We have said we can’t have Belle Vue House being a burden on the tax payer.
“We have to be realistic. If the only viable schemes going forward were that Belle Vue House had to go then we would have to be realistic about that.”
Asked whether this meant Premier Inn was no longer interested Mr Barrett said he had never mentioned possible buyers.
This will delight campaigners including Lord Phillips of Sudbury, who earlier in the meeting stated the importance of the building.
Originally built for the Canham family, it was later used as a Red Cross hospital in The First World War, before being sold to Sudbury Town Council in 1936 and later handed to Babergh District Council.
Mr Phillips recently told the Free Press: “It baffles me how in 2016 a building of that quality can be at risk. It’s all down to the greed of major corporations.