Amber Valley council pledges extra £130,000 for River Gardens tearoom

The old tearooms at Belper River Gardens have stood derelict for many years.
The old tearooms at Belper River Gardens have stood derelict for many years.

Amber Valley Borough Council has increased the budget for a new café in Belper River Gardens by £130,000 after failing to find a contractor.

The council had been seeking a suitable company to design and build a replacement Swiss tearooms for a fixed price of £290,000, of which £100,000 would be contributed by Belper Town Council.

However, no bids were submitted that fully met the brief, and a project review has now concluded that a budget of £420,000 will be necessary to achieve the desired quality and heritage standards.

Council leader Kevin Buttery said: “I am hugely disappointed that it has not been possible to secure a suitable building for the original budget, but the compromises in the design and materials that would have been required, were unacceptable to me.

“I have taken the decision to reallocate funding to ensure the new tearooms will be a building of which Belper and Amber Valley can be proud.”

The new funds will come from a proposed solar scheme for the council’s depot, which has been unable to progress due to technical issues.

Companies will now be invited to submit designs based on the original brief, but with the revised budget, which is anticipated will take around six weeks to conclude.

Councillor Chris Short said: “We want to provide a building which will stand for the long term and serve future generations, and so it is essential that we take the time to ensure that the design lives up to the location and heritage.”