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Derbyshire yoga teacher wants to convert historic library into studio

today18 September 2022 1

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A Derbyshire instructor has submitted plans to give a 180-year-old Grade-II listed library a new lease of life as a yoga and pilates studio. She hopes the conversion will create a new community space that will promote thoughtfulness and wellbeing.

Tabitha Wright, 47, from Belper, together with Tanya Spilsbury, 55, a historical building development surveyor, have submitted plans to Amber Valley Borough Council which, if approved, will see the building on Bridge Street, Belper turned into a studio space, two bedroom residential unit, and commercial units.

The proposal is set to be discussed by planning officers , with a decision on whether to proceed due on October 26. Ms Wright, who has been a yoga instructor since 2007 and pilates teacher since 2010, said: “This is all subject to any planning conditions, it’s just a proposal at this stage. But going forward, if approved it would open hopefully this side of Christmas, maybe at the end of October or the beginning of November.

“I’ve been looking for a studio for years, but nothing as yet struck a chord until Tanya found the library. It’s an ideal, beautiful space and traditionally a space for the community with great contemplation energy. It was beautiful, you can feel it and it goes through to your bones.

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The former Belper library
The former Belper library currently stands empty on Bridge Street

“It’ll hopefully soon be a place where people can practice a little bit of self-discovery work on themselves, and it will thread through from the library through to the next generation of people there. I want it to be a great community building.”

Ms Spilsbury said: “We are currently in the middle of getting the planning sorted. It’s a building site at the moment and plans won’t be decided upon until October.

“I’m always on the lookout for buildings that are interesting and have previously advised projects involving the old registry in Belper and the stables in Derby. I love Belper and live locally so know that the library is a very popular building that a lot of people visited as children and then took their own to.

“When it became available, I thought it would be a lovely building to do. It was built originally to house a doctor in the town who supported mill workers. This meant a little building was built at the side as an additional surgery in 1908. The main building was finished in 1840.

“It’s sort of gone full circle in a way as we plan to adapt it to have a semi-medical use with an in-house physio.”

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