Cash hope for the ‘Erewash Valley towns’

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FINGERS have been crossed this week after Eastwood, Kimberley and Stapleford’s bid to win a share of £1m to help regenerate the three town centres, has been completed.

Broxtowe Borough Council has organised the joint bid to enhance the three areas, which it has called the Erewash Valley towns.

The plan is to re-brand the area under the Erewash Valley name in a bid to give the area more of an identity.

And this week the council pledged to match fund any successful bid to help attract people into the towns, while working with landlords and businesses to improve appearances and vacancy rates.

As part of Broxtowe’s bid, the council was required to submit a Youtube video capturing the essence of the towns involved and demonstrating a need for funding.

The towns’ film is presented by Broxtowe borough councillor Stan Heptinstall and focuses on the need to boost footfall to the centres.

He said: “This is an exciting opportunity to develop local potential and identity by building on successes. It will bring much needed investment to revitalise our community.

“We believe that branding is vital along with promotion of the area.

“All three towns have similar profiles and similar problems with vacancy rates of nine to 14 per cent compared to an average of nine per cent for similar towns and footfalls of 26 to 88 compared to an average of 113 for similar towns.”

The council led a project during 2010 and 2011 to create and promote the 30-mile Erewash Valley Trail and hopes to use cash from this bid to connect the walk more strongly to the towns along the way which have their own attractions, but are suffering.

“The Erewash Valley Trail developed not only a popular facility but a local identity using the valley to draw communities together rather than separate them,” said Cllr Heptinstall.

“This will build on the success of the Erewash Valley Trail and use its strong branding to give visitors a greater choice and wider experience when visiting the area.

“Attractions such as the DH Lawrence Heritage Centre in Eastwood the attractive railway town of Kimberley and Stapleford with its Saxon Cross will be the basis of the offer which will draw visitors to explore the area and return to enjoy the delights of the valley.”

The bid is part of the Mary Portas Review with the Government offering the 12 winning bids up to £100,000 each to boost their town centres.

If successful, the project will be run by a town team steering group based on the current Erewash Valley Forum but led by businesses and the three town councils.

Plans would include developing a Erewash Velley towns website and facebook and twitter links.

The bid also highlights the possibility of virtual high streets and swap shops while also revealing that voucher systems, loyalty cards and discount schemes would be a priority.

Cllr Heptinstall added: “We’ll build on our successful events. The Christmas lights switch-on in Eastwood attracted over 8,000 people.

“There will also be a large emphasis on new events like a food and drink festival, the extension of farmer’s markets and a landlords’ forum to be held twice a year.”

The council has already received £100,000 from the Government because of the high percentage of empty shops across the borough.

Broxtowe was one of nine districts in the East Midlands given the money but has now submitted this new bid specifically to concentrate in Eastwood, Kimberley and Stapleford.

The video can be viewed on Youtube or by visiting www.eastwoodadvertiser.co.uk.