Cost fears raised over Tea Rooms

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FEARS about the potential costs of replacing the Swiss Tea Rooms in Belper River Gardens were voiced at a public meeting last week.

The Friends of Belper River Gardens hailed a proposal from architects Lathams — which topped a public poll — as “more likely to be commercially successful” and “significantly cheaper to build” than other candidates proposals.

A spokesperson for the Friends said: “Councillors should be concerned about the cost issues the Friends have raised and also because Amber Valley council will have to apply itself for planning permission. This will be determined by a Secretary of State, so the arguments the Friends are making, alongside what the World Heritage Site and English Heritage have said will certainly be properly considered.”

At a meeting on Thursday people heard that the borough council plans to build the tea rooms and let them out – but construction is unlikely to start before 2013. A competition to find a new design for the tea rooms was whittled down to six candidates by a panel. The Friends believe Lathams’ design is “less likely to stall at the planning stage” and say it will not have an adverse impact on the River Gardens and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. A public consultation and the panel’s recommendations will be considered by the council on Wednesday, September 28.