Secret talks set to continue on town priorities

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Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Detailed discussions are continuing into plans for the development of Sudbury’s bus station and the future of Belle Vue House.

Despite no obvious signs of progress, councillors maintain that positive steps are being made and they are hopeful that finalised proposals will be revealed soon.

At Sudbury Town Council’s annual meeting, resident Robin Drury questioned why news regarding some of the area’s major long-term projects had not been forthcoming.

“Everything seems to be going on behind closed doors and people are asking what is happening,” said Mr Drury.

Plans for the Hamilton Road quarter appear to have ground to a halt.

Last summer, the Free Press revealed that Babergh District Council was in talks with Curzon Cinemas over attempts to develop the bus station, with the creation of a complex featuring a mix of retail and leisure units linking to the town centre.

Simon Barrett, town and district councillor for Sudbury, said interested parties were still committed to delivering the development.

“We are working towards a positive outcome and are trying to assemble land to take the scheme forward, but there are five landowners with whom agreement needs to be,” reached said Mr Barrett.

“With the purchase of Navigation Hose, the district council has demonstrated its willingness to progress the project.”

He added that a recent meeting of Sudbury Steering Group had been held behind closed doors due to matters of a “commercially sensitive” nature.

Mr Barrett said similar meetings about land to the front of Belle Vue House, which hotel chain Premier Inn has been linked with, had also taken place in private for this same reason.

“We do not want to scare some of the speculators away and that is the reason for the closed door meeting,” said town councillor Jack Owen.

The bus station plan is associated with the town’s attempts to improve its traffic flow, which Suffolk County Council has allocated £450,000 towards from its budget.

Following discussions with highways officials in September, councillors are keen for a “transport hub”, including bus drop-off points around the town, to replace the bus station.

Mr Barrett said the complexity of the plans made it a lengthy process, but that everything needed to be right before a public consultation could take place.

Sudbury mayor Adrian Osborne said he believed the coming year would be one of opportunity.

“It will be a year when we look forward to the completion of the health centre, improvements to infrastructure and progress with Hamilton Road,” he said.