ASHBOURNE’S former library could be given a new lease of life if planners approve of a proposal to turn it into a shop, cafe and craft workshop.
Businesswoman Jacqueline Howard, from Kirk Ireton, wants to turn the empty building in Cokayne Avenue into a centre for crafts and trades such as sewing, with a traditional cafe and space for workshops.
Mrs Howard wants to call the new venture Betty’s Sewing Box and the business will be themed on recycling, reusing, making do and mending, with space for locally crafted items to be sold and even a bank of sewing machines for use by customers who do not have their own machine.
Mrs Howard says she wants to bring in specialist teachers to lead groups or parties through courses in traditional crafts and groups such as WIs will be invited, as will pupils from schools in the area.
Its cafe will feature vintage crockery and decorations and local staff will be recruited.
Mrs Howard, who has a background in the beauty industry, said: “The ethos will be very much hand made and home made.
“We’ll be trying not to make any sort of huge carbon footprint but focusing on making things in traditional ways.
“It’s going to be a big change for me but it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“The library premises is absolutely perfect for what I want to achieve.
“Not only is it a beautiful building but it has a lovely space, its own parking and it’s close to the town centre.”
Mrs Howard’s application, which is currently being considered by the Derbyshire Dales District Council, would allow the change of use of the premises.
Mrs Howard says she hopes the application will run smoothly and has hinted that she could be ready to open the new building - named ‘Betty’s Sewing Box’ by the spring.