Council’s River Gardens tearoom plans are lodged

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Plans for the newly designed Swiss Tearooms replacement at Belper River Gardens have been submitted by Amber Valley Borough Council.

In July, we exclusively unveiled new designs for the three-winged Edwardian-style attraction, following months of speculatation over the development.

Since then officials at the authority have been finalising the planning application for the project featuring the design to be determined by the council’s planning committee.

Now, the authority has formally submitted the application and the plans will come before the committee later this year.

Amber Valley Borough Council’s Green & Thriving Places to Live Portfolio Holder, Councillor Peter Makin, said “The borough council has worked hard for more than a year to develop this final design, we have listened to what the people of Belper and relevant organisations in the area have had to say.

“The importance of how the building should look, and what facilities it should offer have been carefully considered to achieve this stunning design, which will serve the River Gardens for the next 100 years.”

Created by McNeil Beechey O’Neill Architects, the new design has been developed to “ensure a balance between the need for a modern functional building, and one which will also fit into the important historical setting of the River Gardens”.

The River Gardens, which is located in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Corridor, have been recently upgraded by English Heritage from a Grade II listing to a Grade II* listing in the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England.

The Friends of Belper River Gardens opposed the original designs in 2011 and expressed concerns that the £400,000 plans had been put on ice earlier this year when new designs failed to materialise.

However, the group gave the new designs their backing when they were finally unveiled in June.

Chairman Trevor Griffin said this week: “We believe that the plans are a tremendous improvement.

“We have a few comments to make but nothing fundamental. We hope it all happens very quickly.”

The building is two floors, the first floor will have seating for approximately 55 people and will include the servery. The second floor will be for food preparation.

The old tearooms at the River Gardens had been boarded up for years. The gardens re-opened after a £250,000 reconstruction of the promenade in August 2009.

You can view the planning application documents and the designby logging-on to

The reference number is AVA/2013/0877, or you can make an appointment to view the file at Planning Reception, Town Hall, Ripley Derbyshire DE5 3BT.