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UPDATE: Sudbury’s historic Belle Vue House likely to be knocked down after preferred bidder chosen

Campaigners were hoping to save Belle Vue House
Campaigners were hoping to save Belle Vue House

Belle Vue House in Sudbury is likely to be knocked down after a preferred buyer for 19th Century House and the adjacent former swimming pool site was identified by Babergh District Council’s Strategy Committee who voted in favour of its disposal.

Last year the council agreed the house could be demolished due to the high cost of refurbishment and redevlopment, and it is likely the chosen bid will see the building knocked down.

Artist's impression of Belle Vue Park opening out into the town if the Sudbury Community Estate bid had been successful. ANL-151223-100633001
Artist's impression of Belle Vue Park opening out into the town if the Sudbury Community Estate bid had been successful. ANL-151223-100633001

The Sudbury Communtiy Estate Bid team was hoping to save the building and redevelop it into a community hub, while retaining the Citzen’s Advice Bureau at the site.

However Estate chairman Theo Bird confirmed the group’s bid had not been selected.

The group also planned to open out the park, allowing it to be viewed from the town centre.

Members of the Strategy Committee, which met on February 4, voted in favour of disposing of Belle Vue House and the adjacent swimming pool site to a preferred buyer, after considering several offers.

Bids were evaluated against set criteria, including economic and community benefits such as job creation and supporting the tourist and visitor economy in Sudbury and viability of the proposals.

At this moment in time, the name of the preferred buyer will remain confidential until all of the legalities have been secured.

The sale, and subsequent redevelopment of the site, was identified as an opportunity that could potentially provide major visitor, tourist and economic benefits to Sudbury, as part of the district council’s commitment to developing the local economy.

Simon Barrett, portfolio holder for growth and the local economy, said: “After a thorough evaluation process where all tenders for Belle Vue House and the old swimming pool site were considered in detail, we have decided on its disposal to a preferred buyer. Their bid was best able to deliver on the criteria set.

“As landowner we have a role in securing the best possible outcome for Sudbury and the district as a whole, which will see the local economy grow and provide jobs for local people, improve links to the park and town centre and preserve the open space of the formal gardens and park for our community.

“While our evaluation process looked at price and quality, it was never simply about income generation for the council; equal weighting in the process was given to the benefits the development would bring to the community and the local economy.”

The land, which is owned by Babergh District Council, was listed for sale in early 2015 as it looked to provide opportunities for regeneration within one of its key market towns.

The park itself and the formal gardens will be retained in Babergh District Council ownership, to remain freely accessible to the public.

A spokeswoman for the council said: “Babergh is committed to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau continuing to supply its service to the town.

“The council will further work with, and support, the CAB, which is currently using the Belle Vue House premises for its office. Alternative office locations for the service are being looked at by both CAB staff and council officers.”

Jennie Jenkins, Leader of Babergh District Council and portfolio holder for finance and resources, added: “We will continue to work closely with local stakeholders, including Sudbury Town Council and the CAB, to ensure the council meets of all of its legislative responsibilities while securing the future of the site.”

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