I recently had a call from a constituent asking what was happening to Angel Court in Hadleigh. Angel Court was formerly a residential care home and subsequently became a temporary housing unit and more recently Suffolk County Council sold it to Babergh District Council. My usual sources at Babergh tell me that they are unable to throw any light on the situation – so the question remains why and what do Babergh intend to do with the property? I have looked over the agendas and minutes of Babergh’s Strategy Committee and I can only surmise that the authority to acquire the property was contained in their meeting of 4th February. The minutes record that The Committee noted the action taken by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Chairman of the Committee, as set out in Paper R95. Paper R95 was discussed without the public being present as it was likely that there would be the disclosure of exempt information. Moreover the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
So what are the options for the property?
- Turn it into a hotel? (After all Babergh is accruing an investment fund of £25 million – Paper R83)
- Turn it into housing – since there is a constant demand for commercial or social housing.
- Turn it into a state of the art e-commerce entrepreneurial centre.
- Turn it into a new set of offices, thereby vacating Corks Lane and possibly leading to the consolidation of yet more services into Mid Suffolk’s offices at Needham Market.
You can guess where my suspicions lie. If it was good news why the secrecy. Once again the disinfectant of transparency is needed to dispel suspicions that the people of Hadleigh are to receive an unpleasant surprise. Meanwhile I have lodged a Freedom of Information Request to see if we can get some light on the subject.