A community group is anxiously awaiting a decision on Sudbury’s Belle Vue House, hoping to keep the historic building for community use.
Today Babergh District Council’s Strategy Committee is meeting to decide the fate of the Belle Vue House and the former swimming pool site.
The community bid known officially as the Sudbury Community Estate is hopeful its bid will be chosen for what Estate chairman Theo Bird said was a “once in a century opportunity”.
Mr Bird is confident their’s is the only bid to offer to keep Citizens Advice on site without service interruption.
Bid team member Damian Thomas said: “There is a large cost associated with relocating the Citizens Advice B ureau (CAB) which must be accounted for by Babergh. Make no mistake, loss of the Sudbury CAB would be a local tragedy.”
The group say the community bid would be potentially worth over £1 million to Babergh District Council.
The group plans to enhance the park’s access, opening it onto Belle Vue junction and making it visible from St Peter’s in the town centre.
Babergh council has already agreed that Belle Vue House could be demolished as part of any plan but the community bid sees the 19th Century house as central to the bid and important for the town and park.
If the bid is successful the house would become a centrally located small business support centre. It would also provide for other community focussed services including adult education in addition to the CAB.
In order to afford the purchase the former swimming pool site would be developed to include a healthcare centre as well as light residential development, but a spokesman for the bid said passers by would hardly notice this due to the “clever” park expansion.
By improving Sudbury as a destination, at no cost to the tax payer the bid team say they are confident the scheme would improve Sudbury as a shopping destination helping to reverse the blight of market town decline.
They are also confident the site would also provide 60 local jobs on site from day one, phasing from construction to jobs in the digital and shared economy.
Mr Bird said: “We have rallied with local industry to make a credible bid that surpasses Babergh’s project brief. What more could Babergh ask for?”
Lord Phillips of Sudbury added: “Sudbury is a very special town. Integral to that are its major buildings of which Belle Vue House is certainly one.
“It would be mindless vandalism to allow its destruction.
“A little imagination and it can strengthen any development plan for rest of the site, and I support any scheme which does that, including the community bid.”