Further to a piece in the Suffolk Free Press on 8th September, here is the full text of the letter to the editor on the
Future of Belle Vue House
“We write jointly as President and Chairman respectively of The SUDBURY SOCIETY to object to the fundamental principle that Belle View House can be considered for demolition. This is not in the spirit of retaining our heritage assets to support the future prosperity of our town. It is both short term and will deny future generations an important legacy.
We fully share the considerable, and growing, misgivings of an increasing proportion of Sudburians and others who use, or simply enjoy, the Town and its facilities regarding the real prospect of the demolition of Belle Vue House (‘BVH’). On any reckoning it is one of our key Victorian buildings, erected in 1871 by Edmund Stedman, later purchased by another well known Sudbury solicitor, Henry Crabb Canham. Crucially, it was given to the Town before the war, and thereafter used for a variety of public purposes – as a military hospital, Council offices, Magistrates
Court, and for a variety of other uses such as for meetings and exhibitions.
The first signatory of this letter experienced all the uses and can vouch for the superb facility BVH was, and still could be. The decision made by the Council last week, in a closed meeting, to favour demolition of BVH (the way Councillors voted is being kept confidential) strikes us as perverse, given the multiplicity of uses to which it could very usefully be put, and as morally questionable given the fact that it was gifted to us. Thank goodness therefore that Babergh District Council (BDC), as voiced by one of their leaders, John Ward, who attended the last public meeting at the Town Hall to enable locals to confront Councillors and ask questions, made clear that BDC is for
There is much talk of a hotel centred around BVH, but oppositionists assert that that would damage our invaluable park. However, that need not occur. and BVH would be stylish and could accomodate the Hotel Reception, restaurants, Bars and meeting rooms. With bedrooms built in the extensive,adjacent woods to the east, that would surely be the best of all worlds and add to the Park.
This letter is inevitably severely constricted, but we do urge anyone who shares most of our views to get in touch with your BDC Councillor and/or Sudbury Council and/or BDC direct via John Ward. Time is short so please press on. We also now expect the BDC to provide public access in the near future so that anyone interested can see the inside for themselves, and so realise that the appallingly run-down exterior conceals potentially great space, to whatever use BVH is put. There are many more points we could make if space was limitless, but we should end by making clear that we appreciate how difficult being a Councillor or Official is in today’s world. That said, please save and imaginatively use BVH.
Andrew (Lord) Phillips OBE & Professor John French (President & Chair of The SUDBURY SOCIETY) “
Have you seen him?
This was the title of the article about Charles Debenham in the latest Society News Journal. He is a well known local artist with a unique point of view, focussing on the everyday elements in the local townscape. His latest work around Colchester and Sudbury can be seen at the Chappel Galleries (next to the viaduct in Chappel) until June 2nd. For opening times see www.chappelgalleries.co.uk
Local List Publicity
We have recently succeeded in convincing Babergh District Council to accept an update to the Sudbury Local List – a description of architecturally and/or historically significant properties and places in Our Town – originally prepared by the Society in 2014. We are very proud of our Local List and urge everyone to take a look… a press release was circulated at the end of March and appeared in local press including the Sudbury & Long Melford Community News. Check out page 3 of the May 2019 edition by clicking on the link!
The Society’s 2019 AGM took place on Thursday 21st March at All Saints Church Hall at 7pm. Following activity reports by the current Executive Committee and election of new officers, a fascinating and informative talk was given by Professor Pamela Cox, Dept of Sociology, University of Essex as seen on the BBC TV series ‘Servants, Shopgirls and Sex Work : Hidden Histories’. See our next News Journal for more!
Further news will follow…..