Sudbury town councillors divided over proposals for hotel development at Belle Vue Park
A newly-elected town councillor has branded the prospect of losing any public green space to a proposed hotel in Sudbury as “unethical”.
During a meeting of the full town council on Tuesday, Louise Fowler, who represents the Elm and Hillside ward, reiterated her opposition to plans to build a hotel on the former swimming pool site in Belle Vue Park.
“I think it’s totally unethical to take any of our recreational space from the town centre, and from the people of Sudbury,” she said.
“I believe all of this space should be either relandscaped into more green open space or developed into better facilities for families – the whole lot, including the derelict swimming pool site; it is recreational land after all.”
In response, fellow councillor Nigel Bennett argued that, due to the former use of the derelict swimming pool, it had never formed part of the green space.
“It used to be the police station, which was a sizeable building, so it’s never been a part of the park,” he said. “It’s a wonderful myth.”
Cllr Bennett pointed out that should the hotel proposals go ahead, a new public entrance would be required, which had failed to be featured in the initial plans.
He added that other issues that needed resolving included the height of the hotel, along with congestion surrounding the site.
“A hotel on the edge of the town centre can only increase footfall,” said Cllr Bennett.
Expressing her discontent at the proposed design of the hotel, councillor Ellen Murphy said: “I think the hotel is awful, absolutely awful.”
Citing the Chilton Woods development, which is set to deliver 1,150 new homes, councillor Steve Hall said the project would be ideal for building a hotel as it had already secured outline planning permission to feature such a facility.
Praising the Chilton Woods development, Cllr Hall said: “It’s a good thing for Sudbury. It’s where our future lies in terms of its growth and opportunity.”
Reminding councillors to be mindful of the town’s long-term aspirations, Oliver Forder added: “Obviously, all of us want to have a magnificent park in the centre of Sudbury and, hopefully, we’ll see more investment go into it, rather than less, but, at the same time, we do have a duty to look to the economic health and regeneration of the town.”
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