Your verdict on tea rooms

PEOPLE in Belper have chosen the design they would like to see for the new Swiss Tea Rooms in Belper’s River Gardens.

Almost 400 people responded to a survey asking for opinions on which of the six shortlisted designs they preferred to replace the historic structure.

A consultation was launched after a judging panel, comprising of town councillors, the leaders of Derbyshire County Council and Amber Valley Borough Council, and the editor of the Belper News, chose six architects’ designs to be put to the public vote.

The consultation period has ended and, in response, 371 people told Amber Valley Borough Council what their favoured design was.

Coming top of the list for the people’s first choice design, by a considerable margin, was the proposal by Latham Architects, which incorporates some of the principles of the original tea rooms, including a similar roof style.

The Derby company’s design was voted the number one choice by 122 people. Second was the offering by Letts Wheeler Architects with 69.

In last place was Matthew Montague Architects’ bid with 38 votes.

The design by Lathams was described by the company as: “Referencing the original building and incorporating a green roof, the design offers a similar building to the original with extensive views of the river, gardens and play area.”

The third, fourth and fifth places were taken up by Gino Lombardo Associates Ltd, McNeil Beechey O’Neill Architects, and Pleydell Smithyman Associates, respectively.

The results of the survey will now be reported to the judging panel, the members of which will now make a decision on which design will win the competition and go forward for further consideration by the council.

A council spokesman said of the old tea rooms: “The distinctive Swiss-cottage-style building was commissioned by industrialist George Herbert Strutt in 1905, and was used as Tea Rooms until they closed in the early 1980s.”