Belper Town Council, at its Council Meeting this week, unanimously voted to make a grant of £100,000 to Belper Community Enterprise as a considerable contribution to the costs of building a new River Gardens Tearoom.
The grant is subject to conditions to ensure that the money can only be spent for this purpose.
Belper Community Enterprise said: “We are clearly very grateful and delighted that the Town Council has made this terrific commitment which will also help enormously to “unlock” other potential sources of funding.”
Plans for the new building were submitted to Amber Valley Borough Council for pre-planning consultation in December. The company is likely to start the process of choosing a contractor and operator later this month so that it can start work as soon as permission and funding is available.
Belper Mayor, Gary Spendlove said he is “thrilled that the designs for the new tearooms are now going apace. All being well, work should begin in spring 2018.” He also congratulated Trevor, Richard, Janet and the rest of the team for their determination to complete the project.
He added: “I am so pleased to see the good progress towards the completion of the Belper River Gardens tea rooms. By good housekeeping and excellent fiscal responsibility Belper Town Council are delighted to confirm the grant of 100,000k to the project subject to the group meeting the relevant criteria. The River Gardens have for many years been a jewel in the crown for Belper not least of all the musical events, well dressings and the boating facilities, etc.”
Trevor Griffin, a Director of the CIC said, “We are absolutely delighted and grateful for this major grant which shows a commitment by the Council to support this project which Belper people see as a priority, we expect that it will also help unlock other funding required to build the Tearoom.”
The oft-stalled restoration of the River Garden tearoom building has seen several proposals failing to break ground. The resulting lack of progress has meant that the present site has been left derelict for decades and in sore need of attention.
Labour Cllr Ben Bellamy said: “I am delighted that our lobbying has finally seen the Town Council do the right thing. A couple of years ago we had to raise a petition to prevent them giving this money away as an election tax reduction sweetener.”
In August last year Belper Community Enterprise Group launched their “Buy A Brick” campaign to give local residents an opportunity to make sure the River Gardens Tearooms reopen. Each donation gives supporters a virtual ‘brick’ on their website which will later be replaced by a permanent entry on the supporter wall once the tearooms open
The campaign has raised £11,000, about which the group said: “We are also very grateful to all our buy-a-brick supporters for the fact that we have now raised over £11,000 for preliminaries. This includes a very generous contribution of £500 by Specsavers of Belper.”
Seats are still available for their fund raising concert by the BelCanto Choir at St.Peter’s church at 7.30pm tonight (14th). Tickets are priced at £5 or £2 for children (5-16) and will be available on the door.
More to follow.