PROPOSALS to build a new supermarket just outside the town centre would leave Ilkeston a ‘ghost town’, according to Erewash’s Labour group.
Abbotsford councillor James Dawson said that the plans to demolish the Field Road campus of Derby College to build homes and a large supermarket in its place would signal a ‘death knell’ for Bath Street.
His party has now made calls on Erewash Borough Council to create a department to drive economic recovery in the town.
Cllr Dawson said: “This latest threat will put the fright of its life into Ilkeston.
“What business wants to set up shop in a ghost town?’
“This is the death knell for the high street. Another out-of-town mega-store and the tills closing on an entire way of life. Once shops go, people go.”
Shortly after being granted planning permission for 53 homes on its derelict Cavendish Road campus last month, Derby College announced its vision to move the existing Field Road campus into the town centre and replace it with homes and a supermarket.
Labour leader Cllr Howard Griffiths condemned the move as a ‘kiss of death’ for Ilkeston.
He said: “The Erewash Tory council should create an economic development section, dedicated to driving economic recovery.
“As yet, all they’ve got is a dog-eared economic development strategy and not one dedicated economic development officer.”
Leader of the council, Cllr Chris Corbett, said: “This is a new idea from Labour and one we will certainly look at and investigate.
“The college is talking to the council and we know there will be a planning application but there hasn’t been yet.
“If the college is relocating to the town centre than there will be 1,000 students and staff as well shopping in Ilkeston and that can only be a good thing.”
The college is looking at the former Ilkeston Magistrates building in New Lawn Road, and two other sites in the town cenre as a potential locations for the new campus.