Controversial plans for a new entrance to Belle Vue Park in Sudbury have been backed by Babergh's planning committee - getting the go-ahead by just one vote.

The project had been recommended for approval by planning officers, alongside Churchill Retirement Living's plans for a retirement block and the restoration and conversion of Belle Vue House into two homes.

Babergh District Council's project includes new landscaping and seating, and was drawn up following public consultation and feedback undertaken in autumn last year concerning the future of the park.

The plans also include a new traffic light-controlled pedestrian crossing on Cornard Road as the project looks to make "access safer and easier" for pedestrian access according to planning officers.

The scheme came in for some criticism from councillors at their meeting on Wednesday, August 10, including from Great Cornard councillor Peter Beer, who branded the crossing plans as "not logical" due to traffic concerns.

Issues around access for the disabled and emergency services were also raised.

Tim Regester, speaking on behalf of Sudbury Town Council, said they "want the whole of the park opening up" and have "safety concerns" over the Cornard Road crossing and the congestion it may cause.

The town council also expressed concern over the width of the entrance.

Polly Rodger-Brown, on behalf of Belle Vue Action Group, also voiced concern over the accessibility of the entrance.

Speaking on behalf of applicants Babergh District Council, Lee Cavell said the entrance would help improve connectivity to the town centre and insisted that accessibility has been considered.

The council also confirmed that the gates would be locked during the night.

Councillor Alastair McCraw was supportive of the application - saying the plans would enable Belle Vue Park to get the "entrance it deserves".

Meanwhile, councillor David Busby raised concern over the cost of the project.

With six votes for and five against the plans, they are now formally backed and will be delegated to the chief planning officer to tie up loose ends.