We welcome this joint initiative by the District and County Council to engage with the people of Sudbury on the future of our town and trust that it will be just the beginning of the consultative process.
HOTEL: The proposed four-storey hotel would sit on a raised site at a major entrance to the town overlooking the town Conservation Area. We would welcome the provision of extra hotel space in Sudbury but have serious concerns about the sheer bulk of the building and its impact in such a prominent location. We also have concerns about the impact that the building and its access road/parking provision would have on public access to Belle Vue Park and the congestion it would cause at the entrance onto Newton Road. If the building has to be on this site we suggest that the floor plate could be extended to reduce the height by one storey or perhaps the ground level be reduced prior to construction. Really, the design for a building on such a prominent town centre gateway site should be the subject of an open design competition as was adopted for Ballingdon Bridge.
BELLE VUE HOUSE: We will make a brief response to the three proposals but all need further development to merit serious consideration.
1:Mcabe & Abel : This involves conversion to two large and hence expensive units. We have serious doubts about their saleability when their access is past the hotel car park access and the delivery route for services to the hotel. We assume they would require south facing gardens overlooking the Park and the owners of the houses will require privacy so there will need to be fences or walls. This would remove public access to part of the present landscaped garden.
2: Bream Real Estate: This scheme would provide a number of one and two bed apartments plus six further apartments in the grounds. We already have a large number of apartments recently created in the town eg in Sulby House and the former Great Eastern, and question whether this extra provision will be sustainable. However, we prefer it to Option One.
3: Belle Vue Community group. This proposal would keep the building in public use and would be more compatible with Belle Vue park. However, it has to be financially viable and this was very difficult to judge from what we were given at the exhibition. We already have a fair degree of community provision at the Christopher Centre and in current proposals for St Peters and similar ideas have come forward for the United Reformed Church. However, of the options given this was our preference, subject to viability.
MARKET HILL/TRAFFIC/BUS/JUNCTION PROPOSALS
These are complicated issues but we will comment on the main proposals.
We strongly welcome the intention to create a more attractive and people friendly space on Market Hill. However, we cannot support the total loss of the current parking provision - some 60 spaces - and the impact on the viability of local shops and businesses. Some short term parking provision must be retained, along with provision for deliveries to those units which do not have rear access. (The same applies in North Street where again the plan is to eliminate on-street parking.) We also feel that alternative parking provision must be part of the ‘Vision’ and every encouragement should give to the use of the bicycle. We would also like to see inclusion of Suffolk County Council’s broad plans for reducing the flow of heavy through traffic in Sudbury.
The proposal to reverse the flow of traffic in North Street with entry restricted to buses coming in from King Street must also be given a rethink. This relatively narrow street was redesigned a few years back with block paving, speed humps and parking laybys on the east side, all making it unsuitable for large double deckers. At present pedestrians, slow moving through traffic, parked cars and delivery vehicles all coexist reasonably well. We suggest it should be left well alone!
A few closing comments.
The first section of East Street is often used for deliveries to the Weavers Tap and the Nightclub which would completely block the proposed single carriageway leading to the traffic lights.
We note that the proposals do not seem to make any allowance for Taxis which often stretch from the rank right down King Street.
It is a pity that the Hamilton Road Quarter was almost totally ignored in this Exhibition on the future viability of Sudbury. The future of Borehamgate precinct also needs to be addressed to ensure it has a viable future. Virtually all this area has been acquired by Babergh District Council to facilitate a viable future for the town. We should not allow it to be ignored.