The vision for Sudbury took another step forward this week as contracts exchanged on the sale of Belle Vue House and the northern part of the old swimming pool site.
Earlier this year, cabinet members at Babergh District Council agreed the sale of the house and surrounding land comprising of part of the old swimming pool site to Churchill Retirement Living.
The full receipt will go towards the creation of a new open public space for the park entrance with a new café and toilet facilities. The new entrance will provide an enhanced gateway and connection with the town centre.
Following an open marketing process, six bids were considered by cabinet against a set criteria including long term sustainability, price and deliverability, as well as compliance with local planning policy.
The successful bid by Churchill Retirement Living will see the renovation of Belle Vue House and conversion back into private accommodation while part of the old swimming pool site will be developed as a collection of 46 self-contained retirement living apartments with communal facilities.
Churchill Retirement Living’s regional managing director Martin Bessant said: “We are delighted to have secured this excellent site for a new development that will meet the housing needs of older people in Sudbury and the surrounding area. Our new apartments will help improve the health and wellbeing of those who live there, creating a vibrant new community in the heart of town and enabling people to enjoy an independent, active lifestyle for longer.
“Retirement housing is the most effective way of generating local economic growth, creating local jobs, increasing high street spend and boosting the housing market by enabling downsizers to free up under-occupied properties.”
Churchill Retirement Living will now work with local stakeholders to develop a detailed planning application for the site over the coming months.
The land being sold does not include Belle Vue Park, which councillors pledged will remain as a green asset for the town.
Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economic growth, Michael Holt, said: “The exchange of contracts with Churchill Retirement Living is a positive step forward in securing the future of Belle Vue House back to its original use as homes as well as supporting our wider vision for Sudbury. The introduction of new homes in the heart of the town will improve the economic vitality of the area including the local businesses, shops and restaurants.”
David Busby, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for assets and investments, added: “Creating an open, welcoming entrance for Belle Vue Park with a café and new toilet facilities will improve not only the experience for visitors to the park but will also improve the connection between the park and the town centre and creating a place where people want to live, work and visit for many years to come.”
Over the last two years, there has been significant investment in Belle Vue Park including new equipment and landscaping around the children’s play park and the installation of a new multi-use games area and skatepark.
The Sudbury Vision is currently exploring potential for more pedestrian-friendly and improved flexible space around Market Hill, installation of CCTV, the introduction of creative wayfinding and the installation of improved cycle parking around the town.
Pictured above is an artist’s impression of how the entrance to Belle Vue Park could look.