‘How will town plans be paid for?’

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LABOUR councillors have questioned where cash will come from to pay for improvements to Ilkeston revealed in last week’s Advertiser.

Plans included in the Ilkeston Conservation Area Management Plan – which was approved last week – include a scheme to give shopkeepers cash to reinstate traditional architectural features to premises on lower Bath Street.

But the Labour Group says it is unclear how the work would be paid for as no funding for the scheme has been agreed.

Cllr Alex Phillips said: “When it comes to the regeneration of Ilkeston, it would seem that Cllr Corbett and his Conservative colleagues have no real plan at all.

“Traders and shoppers don’t want an aspirational document and vague promises of lottery money, they want the council to put its money where its mouth is.”

Lower Bath Street has struggled for years as more and more businesses have shut up shop and left the bottom end of town.

The council hope that the management plan would see that change and the boarded up shops would be replaced by ‘specialist’ retailers and food and drink stores.

Cllr Phillips said: “So far they’ve only invested the bare minimum in our town centre and it shows.

“The only way we’ll get Ilkeston back on its feet is if the council makes a serious financial commitment to Ilkeston town centre. Big retailers would expect the council to do nothing less.”

Leader of the council, Cllr Chris Corbett told the Advertiser last week that the approval of the plans was a ‘big step’ towards securing lottery cash for investment in the town and lower Bath Street.

But Cllr Phillips said: “Lottery funding for Ilkeston is a long way off.

“In Long Eaton’s case it took three years to get approval and it would require substantial matched funding from the council.”

Cllr Geoff Smith, lead member for regeneration and planning, said the council would be considering additional funding on top of Lottery support in its budget over the coming weeks.

“We have been successful in securing outside funds through the Townscape Heritage Initiative project in Long Eaton including the major development of the Market Place,” he added.

“We hope to replicate this success in Ilkeston and secure our local heritage for residents and the wider Erewash community.”