Future of Belle Vue House up for debate

Transforming part of Belle Vue House in Sudbury into a wedding venue is one of the options being put forward for the future use of the building.

Town councillors and officers from Babergh District Council will meet at the Victorian building in Newton Road today to discuss ideas for how it could be redeveloped.

The district council has allocated £800,000 from its budget over the next two years for the refurbishment or replacement of the house.

At a meeting on Tuesday night, Sudbury mayor Jack Owen said he wanted the community to benefit from any plans.

“The task is to look at the activities that could be put on once the house is refurbished, as it is really not good for much at the moment,” he said.

Mr Owen said he was keen to keep the Citzens’ Advice Bureau and The Hub youth group on the site as well as improving a cafe area to the front, but also wanted to explore other avenues.

“If we get enough enthusiasm, it could also be turned into a wedding venue and we could transfer the service from the town hall,” he said. “We have to think outside the box and be progressive.”

Mr Owen added that the district council, which owns the building, had let it fall into “rack and ruin” meaning more money needed to be spent on any redevelopment. He called on public-spirited people in the community to help out with work.

Deputy town council clerk Jacqui Howells said she was concerned with how the wedding venue would sit alongside youth clubs, while Peter Gray said the building could be turned into a community hub, supporting homework clubs and meetings of social groups.

“We need to draw up a business plan and see what is needed as we do not want another white elephant,” said Lesley Ford-Platt, chairman of the leisure and environment committee.

John Sayers said he would like the building listed, with spare rooms leased out.

Councillors agreed that a public consultation was also required to see what residents wanted.

Meanwhile hotel chain Premier Inn, linked with buying the land currently used as a BMX park on Belle Vue, has said it is looking at “all options” for a site in Sudbury.