Business owners in Ilkeston town centre have joined forces this week in a bid to improve our struggling high street.
The Ilkeston Independent Traders’ first action was to create a list of 12 improvements they want to see and present it to councillors.
• Top of the list was free parking for the first hour in the town centre, which they say is the ‘best way’ to divert shoppers away from supermarkets and into their shops.
• Creating parking spaces on the Market Place was a novel suggestion: “Link this with the shuttle bus, it will make shopping much easier,” the suggested. But parking would be suspended on market days.
• Disabled parking on Market Place another idea to make life easier for disabled and elderly shoppers.
• A similar suggestion was disabled spaces on Bath Street. These would be two-hour non-return slots, they said.
• A shuttle bus with stops up Bath Street was another suggestion: “Many residents find Bath Street hill challenging to say the lease to make things easier.”
• A parking permit for independent shop owners was also mooted: “Parking permits for shop owners would be in line with council workers and would be at little cost to the council.”
• An interesting idea was to use £250,000 that the council has earmarked to spend on Ilkeston town centre as loans for new businesses.
“Suitable business plans would need to be presented and guarantors would be required,” they said.
• A review of the way new shops are licenced was suggested as traders blasted the number of takeaways in town: “The council needs to review its policies no issuing licences to control the diversity of businesses on the high street.”
• A more radical suggestion was to create a small business start-up centre: “Link this service to the start-up loan service and we believe you will see an increase in new businesses opening.”
• The next suggestion referred to powers the council has to force shops to clean up: “These powers should be enforced immediately and with vigour.”
• They want more police and wardens on the street to crack down on dog mess, litter and anti-social behaviour.
• The final suggestion was to upgrade ‘out-dated’ CCTV and provide Shop Watch radios free of charge in a bid to tackle crime.