A toast to Mark and his village tearooms

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TRADITIONAL teas, coffees and snacks will soon be coming to Lighcliffe as a former convenience store is transformed into a tea room.

Lightcliffe Tea Rooms, on Wakefield Road, is the latest venture for Mark Clements, who is no stranger in restoring buildings back to their original form.

Work is already under way at the shop on the edge of The Stray and Mr Clements is hoping to have the tea room open at the beginning of May.

“I have always liked the idea of opening up a tea room as my family and I have always enjoyed going to them,” said Mr Clements, from Hipperholme.

“We are hoping to create that traditional and quality feel and for it to be used by a mixture of ages. The closest places for this sort of thing is in Brighouse and Halifax so we thought it would be good to have something like this in our area.

“We hope to employ local people so it keeps that local community feel about it. As well as snacks and cakes, we will also be selling basic essentials like bread, milk, and stamps as we didn’t want residents to lose an amenity.”

For over a hundred years the building used to be a post office before being changed into a general store in 1981.

Mr Clements is hoping to restore some of the original features of the building including adding canopies to the front of the room as well as demolishing the garage to the rear to create an outside seating area.

Inside, there are plans to have Roman blinds and a children’s area. Pictures of the building from its past and artwork created by the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe art society will be used to decorate the walls.

Wife Sarah said Mark has always had a keen interest in the history of the area and it was a good opportunity to transform the building.

“It is a familiar landmark building and we, like many others, use The Stray a lot. So we thought it is in an ideal place to open a tea room,” she said.

The new project is the second Mr Clements has undertaken in the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe area.

In June 2011, he bought June’s Barbers Shop on Wakefield Road at auction to prevent it being demolished and to maintain it as a traditional barbers.

n Report and pictures by Ian Hirst