Plans for new Belper River Gardens tearooms to go on display

The old tearooms at Belper River Gardens
The old tearooms at Belper River Gardens

New plans are about to be unveiled for returning a much-needed tearooms to Belper’s River Gardens.

The Belper Tearooms Association was created in 2015, out of a desperate need by individuals and organisations in the town to finally see a positive end to the long -running saga, which has seen the present building closed, then derelict, for decades.

The old tearooms at Belper River Gardens

The old tearooms at Belper River Gardens

A new non-profit-making Community Interest Company (CIC), called Belper Community Enterprise, was created in May to handle the project and raise the funding needed.

The company has been recognised by the land-owner, Amber Valley Borough Council, which has agreed to work with the CIC to support delivery of the tearooms project.

On Thursday June 16, at 7.30pm in the Number 28 Community Hall on Belper Market Place, the association’s proposals will be shown to the public for the first time at a short presentation, after which people will be able to talk informally with representatives of the tearooms association, including the architect, about the plans.

Trevor Griffin, who chairs the Friends of Belper River Gardens and is a member of the tearooms association and a director of the CIC, will be one of the people heading the presentation.

He said: “A lot of people have been working very hard for the best part of two years to reach this point, and we hope the public will like what we have planned.

“The new tearooms are very much in a style which is sympathetic to what George Herbert Strutt wanted from the original building, so they won’t look out of place in this listed Edwardian water garden.

“Some very clever design has ensured that there will be more seating than the original, which failed to cope with numbers even on its opening day in 1906, but also a centre space which can be adapted for multiple community uses outside opening hours, such as for meetings or talks, or as a classroom.

“It’s a very exciting time, which has been a long time coming, and we hope the public will support us in securing the funding and getting the building in place before the end of 2017.”

As space is limited at Number 28, the plans will be available for the public to see online on the new tearooms association website, www.belpertearooms.co.uk, which launches the following day.

Information boards surrounding the current derelict building in the River Gardens will also be installed on the Friday.

Anyone wanting to give feedback about the proposals can email their comments to info@belpertearooms.co.uk, or visit the Belper Tearooms Association Facebook page, which will also be launching on June 17.