Fresh twist in battle for Belle Vue

Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter
Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

The fight to save Belle Vue House is not dead yet, with campaigners succeeding in registering the building as a community asset .

The Belle Vue Community Bid Team submitted its application in March as part of a wider plan to create a business and leisure hub at the Sudbury landmark, saving it from demolition.

Now the house and the adjacent former swimming pool has been deemed to be an asset of community value by Babergh District Council, which owns the site.

It means that an initial six-week suspension will be placed on the sale of the building, giving the community group a month-and-a-half to express an interest in bidding for the site.

If the group does register its interest, there would then be a further six-month suspension of any sale, allowing the team to put forward its own bid.

It is not yet clear whether any formal offer has been accepted for the building, which was put up for tender in January.

Despite being given asset status, this does not mean any bid by the group would be given preference over alternative offers.

Other parties interested in the building include budget hotel chain Premier Inn, which would likely demolish the building in order to revitalise the site, local property developer Barry Drury, who has offered to buy the house and gift it back to the community, and Hardwicke House GP Practice.

Theodore Bird, chairman and founder of the community bid group, said he was hoping to speak to Hardwicke House about a possible joint bid.

Mr Bird said: “Our district councils, working together, must be applauded for accepting our nomination and registering the site as a community asset, especially as Babergh is also the land owner, which proves the system works. We will now formulate our plans and make a credible bid.”

The proposal by the community bid team may include a bar or cafe.