Belper Tearooms project nears formal planning stage

An artist's impression of the new Belper River Gardens Tearooms.
An artist's impression of the new Belper River Gardens Tearooms.

A social enterprise group working to revitalise Belper River Gardens have met to discuss the latest developments on the new tearooms project.

Belper Community Enterprises (BCE) Ltd held its latest board meeting on Tuesday, February 7, and heard progress reports from several members.

The derelict tearooms at Belper River Gardens.

The derelict tearooms at Belper River Gardens.

The big takeaway was that proposals are now advanced to the point where the company will look to involve Amber Valley Borough Council prior to submitting a formal planning application.

BCE director Les Dorey said: “It has been agreed that we shall have a meeting with the borough council on Wednesday, March 8.

“We will be discussing demolition and clearance of the old tea rooms, assistance and involvement in procuring contractors and an operator and the implications of the £100,000 grant received from Belper Town Council.”

The original tearooms, built in 1905, have stood derelict since 1981, and a total replacement is now the only option.

The original tearooms were built opened in 1906.

The original tearooms were built opened in 1906.

Board member Richard Keighley said that a first site meeting with Paul Wilson, the nominated planning officer, had already proved positive.

The company are also looking to appoint a firm to advise on, present and audit the accounts, and are in the early stages of inviting expressions of interest from construction firms and potential catering operators.

Les added: “All of this shows that the company is advancing towards its aim of re-opening the tearooms at some time in the future dependent on finance and planning approval.

“We would be delighted to hear from any business, large or small, who consider that they can help us either financially or materially.”

Richard will be attending an upcoming meeting of the Amber Valley Business Club to make representations on behalf of the company.

Solicitors Ellis-Fermor & Negus have added their support to the project with a scheme which will see the firm donate £10 to the fund every time a client shows a promotional voucher when paying their legal bills.

BCE has also recently taken deliver of slate coasters and fridge magnets for sale at community events such as the town’s farmers’ market.

The buy-a-brick scheme is proving successful, with a total now exceeding £10,500.

To find out more about the project, buy a brick or get in touch with members of the company’s board, visit www.belpertearooms.co.uk.