Former Sudbury councillor suggests hotel proposal is better suited for woodland area rather than old swimming pool site
A former district councillor has called a consultation into the future of Belle Vue House in Sudbury “a sop”.
Babergh District Council hopes to submit a planning application for a hotel on the former swimming pool site in Belle Vue Park, drawing heavy criticism from campaigners who fear any development could impact on the green space off Newton Road.
As part of its wider plans for the site and amidst calls in some quarters for the house to be demolished, the council has opened the building to public viewings to aid offers of interest, which Mr Holland is concerned could prove academic.
“I worry that the consultation about the future of the house is a sop to garner public support,” he said.
Despite his reservations about the council’s intentions, Mr Holland, who resigned as a district councillor in 2017, has pledged his support for a hotel in the town, but believes the old swimming pool is the wrong location.
He has suggested utilising an area of woodland next to the Victorian building, which would avoid encroaching on the park.
Believing a hotel would go some way to supporting the local economy and enabling the area to thrive, he said: “I have believed for a long time that it’s important we get it there.
“What I’m suggesting isn’t just what I want, it’s what I think is best for the town.”
Mr Holland, of Church Road, Twinstead, proposes turning Belle Vue House into a registry office and conference hall, which would enable the building to be preserved – and its setting appreciated.
“More people would enjoy the house because we would have found another use for it,” he said, adding that the outdoor space would offer an ideal backdrop for weddings.
“The back garden is still surrounded by trees and the gardens are well maintained,” he said.
Mr Holland argued that members of the public who had expressed scepticism over previous proposals for the site had failed to take a holistic approach when considering the plans.
“People look at the house in isolation,” he said. “They don’t think how the two [a hotel and the house] will sit together, how they will support one another.”
Sudbury was listed by Premier Inn as a target location in 2018.
More by this authorPriya Kingsley-Adam