Could ‘Bath Street pound’ help shops?

Bath street Ilkeston
Bath street Ilkeston

As the council sifts through your suggestions on how to spend £250,000 improving Ilkeston town centre, we take a closer look at one novel idea.

The Bath Street or Erewash pound was suggested at a meeting of town centre traders and councillors earlier this month.

The plan – already used in towns, including Stroud and Totnes – is to create a currency which can only be spent by participating stores in Ilkeston town centre.

The way it works is customers use it to buy goods – and receive a small discount for doing so – for example, one Bath Street pound could be equal to £1.03 in real terms.

It is a win-win situation, according to Cllrs Michelle and Louis Booth.

The benefit to shopkeepers, they say is increased footfall, diverting trade away from supermarkets and neighbouring towns into their shops.

While customers benefit from being able to buy goods at slightly cheaper prices.

“I think it’s got a lot of potential,” said Cllr Michelle Booth.

She suggested it could be administered by Erewash Borough Council, Erewash Credit Union or even a charity like Community Concern Erewash.

Cllr Louis Booth suggested that £10,000 of the £250,000 the council has set aside for Ilkeston twon centre could be spent kickstarting the scheme.

“You’ve got to have a unique selling point,” he explained.

Council leader Cllr Chris Corbett said it was an idea he was considering: “I’ve certainly no objections to it in principal –it sounds like a good idea.

“But it costs the shopkeepers money and some of them might not be attracted to that.”

He asked for traders and shoppers to let us know their thoughts.