The derelict Swiss Tearooms at the Belper River Gardens are set to undergo a major redevelopment – as council leaders revealed a blueprint for their long-awaited revamp.
After years of standing empty, the proposed development of the tearooms spells an exciting time for the Belper River Gardens in a bid to attract more visitors to the unique riverside spot.
A detailed design brief has been presented by Amber Valley Borough Council to companies that have expressed an interest in designing and rebuilding the site, which has not been used as a tearoom since the 1980s.
The new building proposal was approved by Amber Valley Borough Council’s cabinet in March this year and will be majority funded – with £190,000 from the borough council and a further £100,000 from Belper Town Council.
Councillor Chris Short, borough council cabinet member for the environment, said: “It is with great pleasure that I am able to release this design brief, which I’m sure people agree will fully protect and enhance the heritage of the River Gardens, while providing residents and visitors with a high quality, modern refreshment facility, which Belper can be proud of.”
The designs are due to be received in September and once they have been through an initial design and technical assessment, residents will be invited to submit their views on the proposals before the preferred designer is announced. However, the council has been accused of ‘rushing’ to find a quick-fix solution for the building.
Councillor Maurice Neville has strongly opposed the Conservative council’s plans.
He said: “We definitely need a redevelopment but the Labour councillors believe it needs to be of better quailty and in agreement with the volunteer group.”
The Friends of Belper River Gardens have been working towards redevelopment the tearooms prior to the council’s decision.
The design brief stresses the importance of the heritage of the River Gardens and the existing building, while emphasising the facilities within should be contemporary and high quality, with a minimum of 30 internal seats for customers. The new building will also have toilets that are accessible and the building will be environmentally sustainable.