A list of suggested improvements to Ilkeston town centre has been blasted as a ‘ransom note’ by an Ilkeston councillor.
The Ilkeston Independent Traders group, made up of town centre businesses, made a ‘hitlist’ of 12 ideas to pull shoppers back into town, including free parking and bus stops along Bath Street.
Last week the group chaired by David Vipond, of Dyl and Co, said the response from just four councillors out of 17 had been ‘disappointing’.
But Ilkeston Central councillor Frank Phillips hit back in a comment on our website: “It is unfortunate that Mr Vipond’s list of demands read like some sort of ransom demand,” he wrote.
“Instead of making demands and passing blame Mr Vipond and his associates should be listening to the public and responding to what they want,” he added.
He suggested £250,000 put aside for Ilkeston town centre by Erewash Borough Council should be spent on ‘market research’ to find out what shoppers want.
Mr Vipond hit back saying: “Mr Phillips uses the words ‘demands’ and ‘ransom’ – at no point has our group used these words.”
“We talk to local residents on a daily basis so I think we are in touch and that we do not need to spend money on market research,” he added.
“I also would like to inform Mr Phillips of the massive positive response we have had from the community.”
Labour’s Cllr Phillips blamed the lack of response on ‘unreliable’, ‘out-of-date’ and ‘insecure’ council emails.
To which Mr Vipond said: “Maybe this is why he and some of the councillors are out of touch with public opinion.
“What is the use of listing contact details for councillors on the official website if none of them use it? This is a disgrace.”
Erewash Labour leader Cllr Alex Phillips said that the party is preparing a formal response to the traders.