Hundreds flock to see new tea rooms plans

Belper tea rooms plans on display at the Lion Hotel, Belper.
Belper tea rooms plans on display at the Lion Hotel, Belper.

hundreds of people flocked to an exhibition in Belper to showcase the design entries hoping to replace the town’s rundown iconic Swiss tea rooms.

The event, run by Amber Valley Borough Council at the Lion Hotel on Bridge Street, on Tuesday, February 15, gave the public a chance to view the 21 architects’ submissions.

A bustling, excited crowd buzzed around the room as they looked at each design, with many people spending several minutes at a time studying each offering.

The architects are competing to see who will get to redesign the rundown tea rooms in Belper’s River Gardens.

And they did not disappoint, with a wide range of innovative and intriguing designs, including one with a living roof and another shaped like a bee hive.

Borough councillor Jack Brown, said: “The turnout was unprecedented and highlights just how much people value the Swiss Tea Rooms and how important the park is. It also hints at the enormous tourism potential for the future of the tea rooms.

“At opening time they were queuing at the door just to catch a glimpse of the submissions and we heard some positive and encouraging views about the display.” A five-strong judging panel comprising local councillors Alan Cox, Andrew Lewer, Martin Tomlinson and Stuart Bradford, and Belper News editor Julie Crouch, will meet for the first time tomorrow to begin the challenging process of whittling the 21 entrants into a shortlist. The panel will pick the winning design and, once it has been selected, the council will look at external sources of funding for the project, which is expected to cost about £400,000.

It is also looking for someone to operate the tea rooms on a commercial basis.