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Sudbury businessman still interested in purchasing Belle Vue House to preserve building for community use

Barry Drury has signed a contract stating that, if he is successful in a bid to buy the Belle Vue house, he will gift it to the people of Sudbury. (11068157)
Barry Drury has signed a contract stating that, if he is successful in a bid to buy the Belle Vue house, he will gift it to the people of Sudbury. (11068157)

A Sudbury businessman, who has made multiple attempts to purchase Belle Vue House, says he is still interested in acquiring the site for the community – if Babergh District Council is willing to listen.

Local property owner Barry Drury reiterated his belief that the building in Belle Vue Park remains viable for community use, despite being unsuccessful in his efforts to buy the house over the past five years.

Concerns have been raised about the potential impact of development proposals – outlined in Babergh’s Vision for Prosperity blueprint for the town – at both the house and the nearby disused swimming pool site.

This month, former Babergh cabinet member Simon Barrett claimed previous bids to buy Belle Vue House had been rejected because they were not viable, and it would be more practical to replace it with something purpose-built.

But Mr Drury argued many at the council did not appreciate the significance of the building, citing its architectural appearance and its history as a hospital in the First World War.

He said his previous attempts to acquire the house failed because the council was not willing to listen to his suggestions for the site.

“A lot of councillors are not interested in any practical solution for the building,” Mr Drury told the Free Press. “Nobody has got together and come up with a positive scheme.

“I would like to buy it and preserve it for the town. This would be at my expense, not the council’s.

“I’d be prepared to do anything the town would like me to do.

“It’s clear the council would rather knock it down, but it can be viable, if they want to sell it.”

Mr Drury suggested Belle Vue House had the potential to be renovated for various purposes, such as accommodation or a museum, adding that, if he could buy the site, his intention would be to gift it back to the town via a legal trust.

Babergh leader John Ward confirmed at last week’s full council meeting he wanted to see further progress at Belle Vue Park.

In his speech to members, he said: “I hoped we would have projects under way for Belle Vue Park, for both the land and the house.

“A lot of progress has been made in securing a much-needed hotel, but this is clearly a very controversial and emotive issue. We will need to think carefully about this, but I don’t want to see further delay.”


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