Shoppers will soon be able to park for free for two hours in Ilkeston, after councillors have bowed to pressure from traders and townsfolk.
The plan to suspend the 60p an hour charges from 8am to 10am in all council-owned, town centre car parks will be trialled for six months in a bid to get shoppers back in to Ilkeston town centre.
In recent weeks we at the ‘Tiser have been asking readers what they think needs to be done to help the town – and again and again you have said ‘give us free parking’.
Based on the dozens of other suggestions made by our readers and the new Ilkeston Independent Traders group, the council has made a list of a further six measures which it hopes to implement soon.
Lead member for regeneration on Erewash Borough Council, Cllr Geoff Smith, said he was ‘delighted’ with the free parking plan, which also includes spaces across town free to park in for 30mins, regardless of the time of day.
“Over 50 ideas had been suggested by various groups and residents of Ilkeston and they were looked at closely.
“The recommendations should make a big difference to the shopping experience in Ilkeston and, coupled with the announcement on the new station and the hundreds of students which will be flocking into the Market Place from the new college, it is a great time for new businesses and shops to come to Ilkeston.”
Chairman of Ilkeston Independent Traders David Vipond welcomed the move but questioned the 8am start time.
“It’s a major, positive step forward for this council,” he said. “I’m hoping it’s going to reflect in a positive effect on the town centre but I do feel the time period is wrong.
“It ought to be 9am to 11am to fit in with mums dropping kids off at school and shop opening hours – I don’t see the logic in 8am to 10am.”
Other measures to be implemented include hiring a cherry picker to clean out shop gutters, attaching brackets for hanging baskets, extending the Revive scheme for empty shops, like at Burtons, and new boards to replace the old pictures on boarded-up shops.
But Labour leader Cllr Alex Phillips criticised some of the measures, saying: “I don’t want to walk down Bath Street and see nice, bright, boarded-up shop fronts and hanging baskets while the town is dead and dying around us,”
Councillors will vote on all the plans on June 19.