Alternative uses proposed for Belle Vue House - but General Election means discussions on hold
PUBLISHED: 18:46 05 November 2019 | UPDATED: 18:49 05 November 2019
A health and wellbeing centre or sheltered housing with a café and heritage centre are among proposals for Sudbury's Belle Vue House - but the General Election means nothing can be discussed until the New Year.
Babergh District Council had invited expressions of interest for possible future uses of the Victorian house ahead of a public consultation on the final shortlist of proposals.
However the forthcoming election means any public engagement cannot not take place until the New Year.
Electoral law forbids a council from launching any public consultation before polling day.
The alternative uses would have been discussed with the public this month, along with the council's own controversial proposals for the house to be converted into accommodation and a hotel and restaurant built next to it.
The council is not saying who proposals have been received from, but said two community bids had been submitted following its invitation for suggested alternative uses.
One would see the house converted into a community health and wellbeing centre offering classes, therapies and support.
The other would see the house used for private sheltered housing, with the inclusion of a café and heritage centre.
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Commercial proposals were also received which proposed converting the building back to residential use.
The council said it would now be working with all parties over the coming weeks before sharing all four options in more detail in January.
Emily Atack, the council's assistant director for assets and investments, said: "It's great community groups and commercial interests have invested time and effort into developing proposals.
"We're keen to share these as soon as possible so that everyone can see and understand exactly what they would mean for Sudbury - but we also want to be sure that everyone has a fair chance to have their say.
"We can't go out to consultation in the run-up to an election, and don't want to consult immediately afterwards over Christmas, when people may be busy or away."
Ms Atack said the public feedback, together with consideration of any financial implications, would help councillors reach their final decision over the future of Belle Vue House.
Comments on plans for the proposed hotel and restaurant would also be taken into consideration ahead of a planning application, which will now be submitted early next year to allow time for public engagement.
Further public consultation on the proposed hotel and restaurant would then then follow as part of the formal planning process.
"By giving everyone opportunity to see and comment on plans for Belle Vue, we can ensure that we're working together to come up with the best possible solution for residents, businesses and visitors to Sudbury," Ms Atack said.